Merced Police have video of fatal shooting

MERCED, Calif.

/*Vang Thao*/, 21, was killed after police were called to a house party near Buckingham Court and Nottingham Avenue. Investigators say Thao was caught in the crossfire, when officers shot at /*Kong Xiong*/, 18, who pointed a gun at them.

One of the officers involved was wearing a device, which recorded audio and video of the entire incident. And while Merced's police chief says it shows officers had the right to shoot, witnesses I spoke to disagree.

A row of candles outside Merced home marks the spot where police shot and killed Vang Thao Saturday night.

"How many shots did you hear? About 5 or 6."

Nancy Camacho lives at the house and says a small group was having a get together that night. But, police say there was a much larger party going on.

According to a just released transcript, a woman called 9-1-1 to report a man was pointing a gun at people outside.

Investigators say when officers arrived, they parked around the corner and approached the house by foot.

That's when they saw Kong Xiong turn toward officers, holding a loaded gun in his hands.

Norman Andrade, the Merced Police Chief said, "The recording shows that from the time the officer's illuminated Xiong with their flashlights until the last shot was fired was less than five seconds."

Some of those shots went through a fence, striking Thao, and a juvenile who were both standing on the other side.

Wednesday, Merced Police Chief Norman Andrade defended his officers saying they felt threatened. "These are split second decisions, life and death decisions."

But, witnesses aren't convinced.

Nancy Camacho said, "I think it's a cover-up, plain and simple, you know, I think it's a cover up."

A man, who did not want to be identified, was a friend of Thao's. He too, witnessed the shooting and claims he overhead officers talking just moments after the shooting. "And I overheard them, one of them say uh, I can't believe I just shot someone right now."

Wednesday, officers removed the bullet riddled fence as evidence. The department will now conduct their own internal affairs investigation, before turning it over to the District Attorney.

Larry Morse, the Merced County District Attorney said, "We are reviewing some information at this point, but we are still a long way from issuing a finding."

The District Attorney will ultimately determine whether officers are at fault for Thao's death. And while the Police Chief says Xiong is to blame, Thao's family says they are determined to prove otherwise.

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