Relatives of a 21-year-old rapper shot dead by police in Vallejo, Calif., on Saturday say he was sleeping. "We cannot fathom why they would have to shoot him. This was senseless," David Harrison, cousin of rapper Willie McCoy, tells the Guardian. Police say McCoy, known as Willie Bo of group FBG, had a handgun in his lap when he was found unresponsive in the driver's seat of a silver Mercedes that was locked but running in a Taco Bell drive-thru around 10:30pm. After backup arrived, officers said McCoy awoke and looked at them as they ordered him to keep his hands visible, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "Instead he quickly moved his hands downward for the firearm," a police statement reads, per the San Jose Mercury News. "Fearing for their safety," six officers, now on administrative leave, opened fire within four seconds.
"We're never going to get over this … There was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution," McCoy's brother, Marc, tells the Guardian. "Police have a campaign of executing young black men who fit a certain profile," adds Harrison. "Willie dressed the part. He represents hip-hop music." With police claiming McCoy's semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine was stolen from Oregon, per the Chronicle, the family has hired civil rights attorney John Burris. He filed an excessive force lawsuit last week on behalf of the family of Joshua Pawlik, a homeless man killed by Oakland police last March after he was found sleeping with a gun in his hand, per the Chronicle. "You have to account for the fact that the person is going to wake up and not know who's out there," Burris says. "There should be ways to handle this situation without immediately killing that person." (Read more police shooting stories.)