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San Diego police video appears to show armed man fatally shot in back after foot chase

Jesus Valeta, 22, had his hand on the gun moments before he was shot, police said.
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Video released by the San Diego Police Department on Monday appears to show three officers chasing an armed suspect shortly before he falls to his knees and is fatally shot in the back.

The nearly 10-minute edited video, spliced together from aerial helicopter and bodycam videos, includes the police narrative of the events on the night of July 23, when three officers chased and shot Jesus Valeta, 22.

It is unclear what happened immediately before or after the videos were recorded. Police have not identified the officers.

Police said in a statement that the incident began when officers responded to a call about a possible shooting in the El Cerrito neighborhood. Shortly afterward, officers found a 29-year-old man who had been shot multiple times. According to the video released this week, witnesses told officers about a vehicle that fled after the shooting.

The police video begins with aerial video from a helicopter that locates the suspected getaway vehicle. The helicopter video at one point shows a police vehicle following a car before it stops in a parking lot near 54th Street and El Cajon Boulevard.

A man gets out of the vehicle and begins to run, the video shows. Aerial video also shows two officers getting out of a patrol vehicle. The man who ran exited the vehicle "with a gun in his hand," a voice on the video says over the police airwaves.

The video incorporates freeze-frames that police say capture Valeta holding a gun moments before two officers fired at him outside a nearby drive-thru restaurant. Video also showed officers telling him to stop and drop the gun.

"Mr. Valeta, after he tripped, dropped the gun, retrieved it and started running again. ... Mr. Valeta had his finger on the trigger of the gun," police said in the video.

"While on the ground, Mr. Valeta made a backwards motion with his arm with the gun in his hand," which prompted two officers to shoot, police said in the video.

Valeta, who was struck at least once, was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.

Valeta's family could not immediately be located for comment Wednesday.

Police said they recovered Valeta's gun at the scene. "Investigators determined that the trigger on the gun had been pulled and there was a round in the chamber that didn't fire," police said.

Police said that three other men were with Valeta in the car he ran from and that they were suspected of being involved in a second shooting earlier in the day. The three men were arrested; police did not disclose their identities or the charges they were arrested on.

Two other guns were found in the vehicle, police said.

The San Diego County district attorney's office will review the investigation to determine whether any of the officers' actions were criminal, police said. The police department's internal affairs unit will determine whether officers violated any policies. The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office are also monitoring, police said.

A police spokesman said Wednesday that no questions would be answered before the district attorney's office completes its review.