Diante Yarber was shot and killed while seated at the wheel of a Ford Mustang in a San Bernardino Walmart parking lot earlier this month (Apr. 5). The parking lot wasn’t vacant, and onlookers reported counting as many as 30 shots fired. Yarber was pierced by the bullet more than ten times. Additionally, witnesses reported that racial slurs were shouted at Yarber. “[Expletive] we’re gonna kill you,” Attorney Lee Merritt gathered from a bystander’s interview, according to ABC 7.
There was no clear reason for the incident. According to authorities, the victim was shot after reversing his car and then moving quickly toward police officers. Authorities reported that he hit their cruisers when he reversed his car again. But attorneys are calling the shooting unjustified, no matter the offense.
Attorney Lee Merritt said that Yarber died of asphyxiation, after having choked on his own blood. He died on the scene as cops did not take him to a hospital. Yarber was unarmed.
Barstow Police Chief Albert Ramirez Jr. reported that the officers “feared for their lives.” He alleged that the incident can be traced back to a March 18 police chase. Yarber was reportedly driving a stolen Hyundai but he escaped, ABC 7 notes. Ultimately, this event inspired the execution, Ramirez said. An officer stopped the Mustang for traffic-related reasons. Then, he recognized Yarber and asked him to step out. Yarber, instead, attempted to drive off, allegedly.
One officer of the four involved was Jimmie Alfred Walker who has been charged with a hate crime after stopping and assaulting a man and a woman while calling them epithets. Two of the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
There were four passengers in the car at the time, two of which were young men that fled. The 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat had multiple gunshot wounds and was airlifted to a trauma center.
The officers all wore body cameras but the footage will not be released while the investigation is being carried out. For now, there is only footage from bystanders, not clear enough to make out what transpired. Yarber was 26 and left three children behind. His family intends to file a lawsuit against Barstow.