SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The family of a man shot and killed by officers inside a Natomas grocery store earlier this month is threatening police with a lawsuit.
Their attorney announced the possible legal action after Sacramento police released body camera video of the shooting for the first time Monday, showing the encounter that left 26-year-old Jordan Zenka dead.
Sacramento police body camera video shows the chaotic scene as one officer enters the Bel Air grocery store on Arena Boulevard on Dec. 13. The video shows people running and shouting about a man cutting himself with a knife.
And it shows how the negotiations begin.
An officer is heard saying, “…Can you put down the knife on the oranges? Can you put down the knife…up there please…you don’t have to go to the hospital…”
Video from another officer’s body camera shows employees being escorted out a back door to safety. A Bel Air grocery surveillance camera shows Zenka holding the knife up to his neck. Then, in a flurry, more camera angles show Zenka run toward officers who open fire, killing him.
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Three months before the deadly shooting, Zenka had published a post on GoFundMe reading in part, “I am a gay 26-year-old male and have been chronically houseless for the past three years.”
He finishes the post, writing: “…my wish for everyone is to be safe and peaceful and to never know homelessness.”
Following the deadly shooting, his mother Mary Ellen Lennox issued a statement reading in part: “Our family and friends are horrified that Jordan was struck down when he clearly needed help. The fear he must have felt, and traumatic, painful death, will be with me and my family forever.”
The family has hired attorney Dale Galipo, who plans to file a lawsuit over the shooting.
“Early on they [the police officers] did okay, they were talking calmly, they were not approaching,” Galipo said. “Initially, as I said they tried to deescalate, but then they escalated it, and ended up killing the very person they were supposed to try and prevent from harming himself.”
Besides releasing the video, the Sacramento police also announced it was Sacramento police K9 officer and a CHP officer who fired the handguns in the shooting.
Zenka’s family lives in Oregon. His mother says she believes he had been in Sacramento for about six weeks when he was killed.
Videos from the incident can be viewed here. Viewer discretion is advised.