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News Source: ocregister.com
Replica Firearm Found Next To 17-year-old Girl Shot Dead By Fullerton Officer, DA’s Office Says
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Replica Handgun Found Next To 17-year-old Girl Shot Dead By Fullerton Officer, DA's Office Says

A replica firearm that looked “identical” to a Baretta handgun was found next to a 17-year-old girl shot and killed by a Fullerton police officer on a busy freeway in Anaheim, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday.

The DA’s office – tasked with investigating most police shootings in Orange County – released photos of the replica handgun a day after family members identified Hannah Linn Williams as the teen killed just after 7 p.m. Friday.

The family has demanded answers to what they said “appears to be another unjustified shooting of a young person of color.”

“We maintain that she was unarmed,” Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a spokesman for Williams’ relatives, said during a press conference in front of Anaheim City Hall on Tuesday. “A fake gun is a fake gun.”

They called for an independent investigation from the California Attorney General’s office, as well as the unpaid suspension of the officer involved in the shooting.

Benson Williams, father of Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by Fullerton Police, breaks down during a family press conference as friends move in for support in front of Anaheim City Hall, July 9, 2019. Hannah’s mother, Maria, is to the left of him. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

Representing the family, Rev. Jarrett Maupin talks to reporters gathered in front of Anaheim City Hall July 9, 2019, about the Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by a Fullerton Police officer. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

Representing the family, Rev. Jarrett Maupin talks to reporters gathered in front of Anaheim City Hall July 9, 2019, about the Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by Fullerton Police. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

Benson Williams, father of Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by Fullerton Police, gets a hug during a family press conference July 9, 2019, in front of Anaheim City Hall. Hannah’s mother, Maria, is to the right of him. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

Lynette Campbell, left, Godmother of Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by Fullerton Police, stands in support with Hannah’s mother, Maria Williams, and father Benson Williams, during a press conference in front of Anaheim City Hall July 9, 2019. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

Lynette Campbell, Godmother of Hannah Williams, 17, who was fatally shot Friday by a Fullerton Police officer, talks to reporters during a press conference in front of Anaheim City Hall July 9, 2019. Behind her is Rev. Jarrett Maupin. Steven Georges, Contributing Photographer

The DA’s office said Tuesday the on-duty, uniformed Fullerton officer had been driving a marked police SUV on the eastbound 91 Freeway on Friday, July 5, taking his police dog to a veterinarian for a medical procedure.

The officer spotted the 17-year-old traveling “at a high rate of speed” on the 91 near Glassell Avenue, according to the DA’s office.

The police vehicle and the car driven by the girl “made physical contact” at some point, the DA’s office said.

Neither police nor prosecutors have indicated exactly what occurred in the moments prior to the officer shooting the girl. It isn’t clear if she was inside her vehicle when the shooting took place, or had stepped outside.

A witness told NBC4 she saw Williams standing on the freeway outside her vehicle, approach the officer and raise both arms while holding a gun.

“Losing Hannah was hard,” said the teen’s godmother, Lynnette Campbell, an activist affiliated with the NAACP. “The circumstances in which we lost her have made it harder.”

She said Williams’s family has received changing accounts of what happened Friday on the 91 Freeway. Campbell said police have released more information to the news media than they have to the teen’s relatives.

The DA office’s investigation is ongoing. The office does not plan to immediately release any footage from police dashcams or body-worn cameras that may have captured the shooting, a spokeswoman said. In Orange County, such footage is often publicly released after the DA office’s investigation is completed, a process that usually takes months.

Relatives, fearing delay on the part of officials, have authorized an independent autopsy of Williams’s body, Maupin said.

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