A controversy has erupted in Stockton, CA over the fatal shooting of a man armed with a claw hammer. According to police, just before midnight on Tuesday, they received a call from Matautu Nuu’s family, frightened because he was drunk, armed with a hammer, and vandalizing the residence.
The police arrived and confronted Nuu, who yelled at them to shoot him. After repeated unsuccessful requests for Nuu to drop the hammer, the police released a K-9 police dog, but Nuu struck the dog’s snout, prompting the police to attempt to rescue the dog by using tasers on Nuu. Nuu resisted the tasers and attempted to attack the officers, and was mortally wounded by shots from two police officers. They immediately gave Nuu first aid, but after being transported to a local hospital, he was pronounced dead.
Nuu already had a history with the police; in 2014 he was arrested twice for public intoxication; in 2008, he was arrested for battery on an officer and resisting arrest.
Nuu’s family is now claiming that the police should have acted differently.
Karisamasi Nuu, his sister, said, “What do we do right now? We lost a loved one, you know? … They tased him and he was already falling and then they shot him still. Like, I just don’t understand,” she said, according to FOX 40. The family claimed Nuu’s brother wanted to speak with him, but never got the chance. His sister said, “My little brother’s the only one who could calm him down. So why did they not give us that choice?”
Officer Joe Silva, a spokesperson with the Stockton Police Department, explained to FOX 40:
. . . A very dangerous situation and that he was vandalizing a house which actually elevates that danger even a little bit more for people inside the residence … It got real violent; the man struck the K-9 with the claw hammer and then when the handler went into rescue his dog, that’s when the man was getting ready to attack.
Some people claiming they had witnessed the event said the family was screaming at Nuu to put down the hammer.
The police officers who shot Nuu were placed on three-day paid administrative leave, according to the Stockton Police Department.