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Family of Rob Adams demands justice after fatal police shooting

Jonathan Linden
91.9 KVCR
Tamika Deavila King, mother of Rob Adams, speaking during a July 20, 2022 press conference.

Community members in San Bernardino are demanding justice after a 23-year-old Black man was shot and killed Saturday by police, while he was running away.

Tamika Deavila King was talking to her son Rob Adams on the phone when he suddenly dropped off. "And all I heard after that was gunshots, and he never told me goodbye." Deavila King said.

Adams was fatally shot by police in a San Bernardino parking lot. According to security camera footage, two officers showed up in an unmarked car. Seconds after exiting their vehicle, shots were fired as Adams ran in the opposite direction.

San Bernardino Police Department
A screenshot of footage released by the San Bernardino Police Department.

The San Bernardino Police Department (SBPD) says Adams was carrying a gun and was displaying the weapon when officers drove up. In a press release, they provided a photo of the gun they say they found on Adams. But Adams' family members dispute that he was carrying a firearm, but rather that he was holding his cell phone. 

San Bernardino Police Department
Photo's provided by the San Bernardino Police Department(SBPD). The left photo show's the gun they say was found on the scene. The right photo shows where the SBPD says Adams can be seen carrying a firearm.

"Rob Adams was running away. He posed no threat. When that officer shot him multiple times in the back," said civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump is representing the family along with a team of local attorneys, who plan to file a lawsuit this week. 

The police department has released a video response with clips from body camera footage. In the video, Police Chief Darren Goodman says officers gave verbal commands, but the video doesn't include audio from that confrontation. "Fearing that bystanders or the officer's lives were in danger, one of the officers fired his gun striking Adams," said San Bernardino Police Chief Darren Goodman.

Adams' father, Robert, says his son's life was taken too soon. And that he had plans to go to college and pursue a business management degree. "He was a good kid. To see my son gets shot multiple times in the back," Adams said. "What father will want to see the kid killed on a video."

Police have not released the names of the officers involved and did not say whether they had been placed on leave. From 2016 to 2020, the San Bernardino police department reported to the California Department of Justice that officers shot and killed 13 men.

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and served with the station till October 2022.