Lincoln man killed by police was ‘my best friend,’ says sister

Erica Millard remembers her brother Brandon Millard, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon in downtown Lincoln.
Erica Millard remembers her brother Brandon Millard, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon in downtown Lincoln. rbenton@sacbee.com

The man who posted an agitated selfie video shortly before he was fatally shot by a Lincoln police officer was described by his sister as a loving brother who kept his personal problems to himself.

Brandon Wayne Millard, 37, was holding a knife and did not follow multiple commands to drop it when officers approached him in the McDonald’s restaurant parking lot on Lincoln Boulevard and Third Street in downtown Lincoln, according to Jill Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.

“He kept coming at the officer,” Thompson said. “The officer told him to put it down, put it down, and he unfortunately did not do that. He continued to come at the officer, so the officer shot him.”

The shooting was preceded by a caller telling police that a man was brandishing a gun late Tuesday morning in east Lincoln, less than a mile from the shooting scene, she said. The caller’s description led officers to look for Millard, who Thompson said was known to police from previous encounters.

Officers spotted his vehicle, a gray truck decorated with orange flame decals, in the McDonald’s parking lot. Peter French, an 11-year veteran of the Lincoln Police Department, was identified Wednesday by Thompson as the officer who shot Millard. Thompson said a second officer was present during the shooting. The two officers had arrived in separate patrol cars, she said.

Millard’s younger sister, Erica Millard, said the news of her brother’s death came as a shock to her and her parents.

Her parents had texted her Tuesday afternoon saying they were worried about their son after he posted a selfie video on his Facebook page ranting and swearing. He said people were trying to kill him, and he complained that police hadn’t shown up because they were “crooked.” In the video, posted at 10:59 a.m., Millard holds up what he says is a pellet gun.

“Yeah, it’s just a pellet gun, but that s--- will f--- you up,” he says.

Erica Millard said she last saw Millard the night before the shooting when he came to her apartment to visit her and her children. She said she didn’t notice anything wrong with him. Her brother kept his personal life to himself, the sister said, and she didn’t know where he was living in recent months.

“He kept his private life private,” she said.

Millard grew up in Placer County, living in Colfax, Penryn and Lincoln, she said. Her brother had attended Lincoln High School and had lived with her for several months until June, she said.

Erica Millard said her brother visited her often to “get away” from his problems in Lincoln and spend time with his nephews and niece.

“He was my best friend,” she said. “If I ever needed anything, I knew I could call him.”

Her mother tried calling Millard at 11:09 a.m. Tuesday and did not get a reply, Erica Millard said. Later the mother and sister learned there had been an officer-involved shooting at McDonald’s but didn’t know who had been shot.

Worried it was her brother, Erica Millard headed to the site of the shooting a few hours later. Police told her that her brother was dead.

“They were supposed to protect him, not hurt him,” she said. “He was pissed because when he called them, they weren’t there.”

Erica Millard said her brother had complained several times that Lincoln police officers would give him a hard time if something was wrong with his vehicle or if he was sitting at the McDonald’s for too long.

Most recently, he had started going to the Foothill Bible Church in Lincoln and had been baptized a year before.

“He was a completely different person,” she said. “He was happy.”

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

Related stories from Sacramento Bee