Shortly before he was shot and killed by a police officer in Lincoln on Tuesday, Brandon Millard posted an agitated, profanity-laced video on his Facebook page accusing people of trying to kill him and brandishing what he said was a pellet gun.
Erin Kraft, who said he was a friend of Millard’s, identified him Tuesday afternoon as the man who was fatally shot by a police officer in the parking lot of a McDonald’s at Third Street and Lincoln Boulevard in downtown Lincoln on Tuesday.
Kraft said he knew Millard was the one who had been killed because his gray truck – sporting distinctive orange flame decals – was still parked in the cordoned-off McDonald’s parking lot Tuesday afternoon, his body lying behind it under a yellow tarp.
Kraft, who said he has known Millard for five years, said he was “just a good guy who would get down sometimes.”
He said the two worked odd jobs in construction and that Millard lived in a homeless campsite along the Auburn Ravine. “He’s very reclusive,” Kraft said.
Kraft said Millard was a generally mellow person who sometimes felt bad if he was having trouble with a girl, or because he was homeless.
Lincoln Police Department spokeswoman Jill Thompson on Tuesday declined to identify the man who had been shot. The officer who fired the fatal shot was identified on Wednesday as Peter French, an 11-year veteran.
She said French shot the man because he wielded a knife and did not follow a command to put the weapon down.
The chain of events that evidently lead to Millard’s death began at about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, when police dispatchers received a call reporting a man brandishing a gun on the east side of town. Officers recognized the suspect from the description and went looking for him.
About the same time, according to the time stamp on his Facebook page, Millard’s video was posted with the status update “it’s going down.”
The profanity-laced selfie video showed him walking down a path through some woods, cradling a weapon that he said was a pellet gun. He said someone had tried to kill him, and police had not responded. He seemed to suggest that he had shot his two assailants.
“Hope you can see me,” Millard said. “I just had people try to motherf------ kill me again. No f------ cops showed up because they’re all motherf------ crooked. It’s all good though because I got my f----- baby right here. They both f----- took a couple rounds out of this b----. Yeah, it’s just a pellet gun, but that s--- will f--- you up.”
He concluded his video by saying, “The cops ain’t pulling me over.”
Thompson said French later saw the suspect’s vehicle at the McDonald’s at Third Street and Lincoln Boulevard. Thompson said when the officer approached, the man came at him with a knife.
The officer told him to put the knife down, but when the man continued coming at him the officer fired and shot him. The man died at the scene.
French was not injured.
Thompson said the Placer County Sheriff’s Office will be in charge of investigating the incident. Placer sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said Tuesday afternoon that while her office will conduct the investigation, all information about the case will come from the Lincoln police.
The portion of downtown Lincoln around the McDonald’s remained blocked by caution tape and police cars on Tuesday afternoon.
Kraft said he didn’t see the shooting but decided to come down to the McDonald’s once he heard about it. He said Millard was a regular at McDonald’s, often getting coffee. According to Kraft, a police officer told him when he arrived that they were investigating a shooting related to Millard’s truck.