STOCKTON (CBS13) – A Stockton neighborhood is on edge Wednesday night after an officer shot and killed a carjacking suspect in the middle of the street. Police have identified the man as 35-year-old Rodney Watts.
“When I was coming across the street, I heard the gunshots,” said Regina Rucker.
It happened near West Lane and Knickerbocker Drive. Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said it began just before 9am as officers were conducting what they call a “check out.”
“West Lane and Knickerbocker is a well-known high crime area in the city of Stockton, so our officers will do special checks in this neighborhood,” Silva said.
He said the three men began to run as police approached them. Two of the men got away while Watts ran into the intersection and tried to jump into the car of a 29-year-old woman. The two began to struggle and the car began to drift in the direction of the officers. That’s when an officer fired his weapon and killed Watts.
“And then our officers did what they’re trained to do and went inside that vehicle and rescued that adult woman,” Silva said.
Rucker watched everything happen from the sidewalk.
“Everybody try to say they were running, I didn’t see nobody running,” Rucker said.
During a search of the area, police found narcotic drugs scattered in the street near the vehicle. Many of the people standing by watched in disbelief and told CBS 13 that this is another case of police acting too quickly.
“If you feel that someone is doing something, then talk to them,” said Shabu Grant. “It doesn’t make sense to have to shoot somebody.”
Father Carey Downs lost his own son James Riviera in a police shooting six years ago.
“No, I don’t have to know him,” Downs said. “To me I do know him because this has to stop. That’s my son laying over there.”
The officer responsible will be placed on a three-day paid administrative leave. Silva said an investigation behind the shooting will involve the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, Stockton Police Department, San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Justice.
The two other suspects have still not been found.