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Family Wants to Know Why Cop Shot and Killed Girl, 17

Police say a replica gun was found at the scene where Hannah Williams was shot
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2019 12:33 PM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images / evgeny_pylayev)

(Newser) – Hannah Williams was less than two miles from her Anaheim, California, home Friday night when the 17-year-old was fatally shot by a police officer. Her family is demanding answers. According to the Orange County district attorney's office, the Fullerton PD officer was on duty and in uniform when, while driving on the 91 freeway in a marked police SUV around 7pm, he saw Williams driving at a "high rate of speed." "At some point, the two vehicles made physical contact," the office continues, without elaboration. An "officer-involved shooting" followed, and Williams later died at a hospital. Authorities have also said that a "replica gun" was recovered, but have not alleged that Williams, a student and lifeguard, was holding it. More:

  • Police in Anaheim, where the shooting took place, issued a statement Saturday and tweeted their thanks to local highway patrol for "helping with the mess on the freeway," which had been closed for hours. The statement describes Williams as a "female suspect."

  • The statement from the DA's office has a photo of the replica gun, which it says was "designed to look identical to a Beretta 92 FS handgun."
  • Representatives for Williams' family say police had not given them any information about the replica gun; her godmother told reporters Tuesday, "You have more information than we do." She added, per KTLA, "The information that we have received from the police department has changed several times."
  • After the DA's statement came out, a family spokesperson said it's still not clear whether the replica belonged to Williams, noting she was driving a rental car at the time and concluding: "She was unarmed. A fake gun is a fake gun." CBS LA notes it is illegal to possess a replica gun in California.
  • The rep says Williams' family does not know how many times Williams was shot or where. Says Williams' father in a statement to the Guardian, "We want the public to know, right away, how many times our daughter was shot and whether or not she was shot in the back. Why, Lord?"
  • Investigations are underway by both the Anaheim and Fullerton PDs as well as the DA's office.
(Read more police shooting stories.)

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