Family demands investigation after police shooting
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A family is demanding a full investigation after a Bakersfield police officer shot and killed and man suspected in a robbery.
Jason Lee Alderman, 29, died of his injuries after the Saturday night incident, and his mother tells Eyewitness News they want to be sure all the information comes out.
Police say their investigation is underway, and it will include the newly enacted review by the Kern County District Attorney's Office.
On July 12, District Attorney Lisa Green announced agreements with both BPD and the Kern County Sheriff's Office that will have members of her staff make a determination on whether an officer-involved shooting is "justified or non-justified."
The most recent incident happened Saturday night at a Subway sandwich shop at Olive Drive and Roberts Lane.
Bakersfield police say two officers were looking for a suspect in an unrelated case, and they pulled into the parking lot at about 11:20 p.m. At that point, they spotted what appeared to be a robbery underway in the Subway.
Sgt. Joe Grubbs says the officer driving the patrol car was "not in a position where he could see everything," the other officer reportedly saw a man in the shop, and then fired at that suspect.
Alderman was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.
On Monday, candles, flowers and messages had been left outside the Subway. And, family and friends held a car wash in northeast Bakersfield to raise money for funeral expenses. One man at the car wash said Alderman was the father of two little children.
When Eyewitness News relayed the mother's message that she wants a full investigation, Sgt. Grubbs responded.
"Absolutely, and we'll provide that full investigation," he said.
Grubbs could not say yet whether Alderman had come at the officers, and wouldn't give details on whether a weapon was found at the scene.
The Subway shop owner on Olive Drive, Nick Khullar, told Eyewitness News he saw what appeared to be a tire iron at the scene. He assumed that's what the suspect was holding, and said from a distance "it could have looked like a cheap gun."
The shop owner said the glass door had been bashed in, and the cash drawer had been pulled out.
Khullar said the shop closed at 9:30 Saturday night, and the two employees had left by about 10 p.m. The owner then got a call at about 11:20 that there was broken glass and the motion sensor had gone off. Khullar said when he reached the area, it had been taped off by police.
He was let in by about 5:30 a.m., and Khullar says that's when he saw the tire iron, which he described as black metal and about 18 inches long.
Alderman's mother said he had worked at a Subway shop "a few years back," but she didn't respond to questions of where that was. Khullar said Alderman never worked at the Subway on Olive Drive or the other two local shops he owns. Khullar also checked with several other owners who have the majority of local Subways, and none of them said they'd ever had Alderman on their staff.
A check of local court records show several criminal cases involving Alderman. The cases include charges for drugs, alcohol, battery on a peace officer and vehicle burglary.
Sgt. Grubbs said there were other witnesses to the Saturday night incident, but they heard it -- they didn't actually see what happened.
Grubbs said the only person who saw what happened is the officer who spotted Alderman, and then fired the shots. That officer has been interviewed, but the investigation is just getting started.
"I was on the scene the other night, and the Kern County District Attorney's office was there, they had a couple of representatives from their office there," he says. Grubbs says that's another set of eyes, and his office welcomes that.
Grubbs tells Eyewitness News this is the seventh officer-involved shooting for their department this year. And, as with any incident like this, they want to assure the public there will be a thorough investigation.
"It's something that doesn't happen very much," Grubbs said. "But, it's highly scrutinized. We want to be scrutinized. We want to assure the public that we're doing a good job, and we're doing it right."