HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A man who chased children around a crowded California sports complex and made a move toward a parent in bleachers was shot and killed by two police officers, authorities said, prompting his mother to say Friday that the officers used excessive force.
Witnesses told police it appeared that the man – Steven Schiltz, 29, of Huntington Beach – threatened people with a bat and broken bottle before he was shot Thursday night.
His mother, Angela Hernandez, told The Associated Press that her son had problems but sounded fine when she spoke to him hours before the shooting on Thursday evening.
“To me, it was excessive force,” she said. “He was good-hearted. He would never go after kids.”
She previously told KCBS-TV that she had struggled with her son’s drug abuse issues.
“He was recently last year in a psych ward and I tried then to try to get him help,” she told the station.
A Huntington Beach Police Department statement said officers responded at 7:21 p.m. to reports of a disturbance involving a weapon.
“As officers arrived, the man ran into a set of bleachers, which were occupied by several families. At that point an officer-involved shooting occurred. Two officers fired their weapon at the subject,” it said.
The statement did not say whether anyone fled the bleachers before the gunfire.
Jose Sanchez, who was coaching two groups of children, said he saw a man chasing people at the complex.
“A cop shows up and tells him to drop whatever you are holding or you’ll get shot, you need to drop it. He doesn’t comply,” Sanchez told KABC-TV.
The shooting occurred when the man ran up into bleachers.
“One of our parents is standing there in the bleachers,” Sanchez said. “She’s frozen. She couldn’t even move. So it looked like the guy was gonna go and do something to her. So that’s when the cop shot him about three times. He was still moving around so they shot him about three or four more times.”
No one else was hurt.
Police said there were about 200 people present at the 45-acre park, which has eight softball fields and seven soccer fields as well as batting cages and playgrounds.
Hernandez said her son worked in construction and played baseball Thursday nights with his brother.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.