As Stephon Clark's family and the surrounding Meadowview neighborhood began to sort through the shock, anger and grief of his police shooting death Sunday, one key question emerged: Was he actually the man officers were looking for from the 911 call?
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said Wednesday he believes Clark was the man a neighbor four doors down reported was breaking car windows.
“Do I believe he was the one based on what we know now? I believe that, yeah, but can we factually say it yet? No. But when and if we can, we will put that out,” Hahn told The Sacramento Bee.
“Everything indicates he was, but you can’t say factually it was him yet. We don’t have those facts yet.”
In that 911 call, the male caller reported a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and pants with “white stripes or white dots” had broken the windows of his truck and a window of another car. The witness could not provide dispatchers with the man’s race, but said he was “about 6-foot tall, maybe 6-3 at the most” and had a “thin build.”
"This guy's going down the street busting windows of cars," the caller said on audio released by the department Tuesday. "He's in people's backyard right now across the street from my place. He busted two of my windows and he broke the car's window out across the street from me."
It's unclear whether the 911 caller witnessed the man break the windows of the cars, but he told a dispatcher, "I heard the noise and came outside and he was standing right alongside my truck."
The witness added he didn’t see a pattern on the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt.
Police officer body camera footage released by the department showed Clark was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark sweatpants with white stripes. However, it also showed that Clark’s sweatshirt had large white letters on the front that read “THE NORTH FACE” with thick white and red lines in patterns around the words.
The witness told dispatchers he had “no idea” what the man used to break the windows of the automobiles.
“It was weird, he was just standing next to the truck,” the man told a dispatcher. “I walked out and said, ‘Excuse me, who are you, what are you doing?’ And then I realize, I looked and saw that my window was busted out and that’s when I went after him and he took off.”
The witness told the dispatcher the suspect would be “lucky to be alive if I had gotten a hold of him.”
Police officers arrived on the scene more than 8 minutes after the witness called 911 and were directed to Clark when Sheriff's deputies in a helicopter spotted a man in a backyard two doors down from the home of the 911 caller.
Deputies in the helicopter said they witnessed that man break the back sliding glass door of the house with a "tool bar."
The helicopter then began filming the man in infrared. He can be seen jumping a fence into the next yard, which is where Clark was living.
Body camera footage then shows police confronting Clark in that driveway before chasing him into the backyard and shooting him dead.