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California Highway Patrol's fatal shooting of man, 23, wounding of girlfriend probed

Oakland police said the vehicle Erik Salgado was driving had been reported stolen from a car dealership.
Image: Hoku Jeffrey, Maricruz Lopez
By Any Means Necessary National Organizers Hoku Jeffrey, left, with Maricruz Lopez during a press conference on June 8, 2020, at the site of Erik Salgado 's shooting death by police in Oakland, Calif.Ben Margot / AP

Police in Oakland, California, are investigating the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old man by California Highway Patrol officers after they attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle that had been reported stolen.

The shooting occurred Saturday night as Erik Salgado was driving in a red Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with a female passenger, according to a release Tuesday by Oakland police, who are leading the investigation into the shooting. NBC Bay Area identified the female passenger as Salgado's pregnant girlfriend.

Salgado was shot multiple times and later died of his injuries, while his girlfriend was wounded and taken to the hospital where she was in stable condition, the release said.

Highway Patrol officers were in East Oakland around 10:46 p.m. when they saw the Dodge Hellcat driving recklessly, the press release said.

"CHP officers conducted a check of the license plate and were alerted to a lost/stolen plate that did not match the Dodge Hellcat," Oakland police said.

While attempting to conduct a traffic stop, Salgado allegedly rammed the car into the police vehicles and three Highway Patrol officers opened fire, the release states.

The Oakland Police Department said the Dodge Hellcat was one of 74 vehicles that were stolen last week from a car dealership.

The names of the involved officers have not been released. Neither the California Highway Patrol nor the union that represents the agency's officers responded immediately to a request for comment on Wednesday. No officers with the Oakland Police Department were involved in the shooting.

NBC News reached out Wednesday to the lawyer representing the family, John Burris, but did not immediately hear back.

Burris has disputed the version of events in the Oakland police statement, according to NBC Bay Area.

He said that Salgado was "shot multiple times before the car rammed" into the police vehicles.

"What happened was he was shot, his foot was on the pedal, and the car continued to go,” the lawyer said. "This is an opportunity where the officer gave very little commands and little opportunity for the young man to surrender."

Adriana Fuentes, who was friends with Salgado, questioned why officers did not try to peacefully arrest him.

"You would think the police would try to peacefully arrest the people to prove that there’s not police brutality; instead they are being more brutal," Fuentes told NBC Bay Area.

"It doesn’t matter what the reason was, I'm sure there were a thousand ways to handle the situation" better than they did, she added.

Oakland police said in the press release, "It is our goal to be transparent and to provide information to our community without compromising the integrity of the investigation."