San Pablo police release body-camera video of man shot after lengthy confrontation

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SAN PABLO — Body-worn camera footage and 911 audio released Friday reveal new details about an incident in September when police shot and wounded a man who had confronted officers, throwing rocks and swinging a 3-foot metal pole, during an apparent mental-heath crisis.

The man, who was later identified as 44-year-old Andre Smith, was initially listed in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the upper-right portion of his leg. He was eventually released from the hospital and now faces criminal charges in the incident.

Police were first called at 1:39 p.m. on Sept. 8 2023 to to a house on the 2600 block of Dover Avenue by Smith’s wife, who said he was “showing signs of schizophrenia,” according to the 911 audio as released by police Friday. “I don’t know how to handle this without it being a big deal,” she told the police dispatcher over the phone.

Smith can be heard in the background on the call, saying that he does not have mental issues and protesting his wife’s call.

When officers arrived to the home shortly thereafter, Smith locked himself in a room and wouldn’t leave or speak to them, police said. Since he was not being violent, police said, the officers left the scene, and Smith’s wife agreed that she would call them again if she needed help.

Less than an hour later, authorities got another call from Smith’s wife. She said her husband had left the room and was harassing her.

In the background of that call, Smith can be heard making threats against the police. “I ain’t going to court,” he said, according to the video. “I’d rather go after their throat, and if they kill me, then they kill me.”

A large group of officers rushed to the house on Dover Avenue; when the video starts, Smith can be seen in the front yard of the property. One officer yanks Smith’s wife out of a car parked in the house’s front driveway and leads her away from the scene as she sobs.

As the officers circle the front yard, with one officer calling for Smith to surrender peacefully — “we just want to make sure everything’s OK … this doesn’t need to go this way, Andre” — he grabs two metal poles stuck in the ground near a plant.

As Smith seemingly twirls the poles, an officer fires a less-lethal beanbag gun at him. In the video, it does not appear that Smith is advancing on the officers at the time.

Smith then runs to a side yard, throwing one of the poles at police as he does. An elderly woman and two children remained inside the house during the standoff, police said.

Another officer attempts to talk to Smith from a neighbor’s yard to no avail. About 15 minutes after he went down the side of the property, police said, Smith re-emerged and began throwing rocks at the police assembled around the yard.

Officers again used the beanbag gun, as well as a less-lethal grenade launcher and electric stun guns, to try to subdue Smith, but he continues yelling and moving around the yard.

Finally, Smith grabs a folding chair, using it as a shield, and charges at officers with the pole still in his hand. One officer’s body-camera video shows what happens next: Smith swings at the officer closest to him, narrowly missing, before the officer wearing the camera fires a single round from a rifle and Smith falls to the ground.

Police said they immediately began providing assistance to Smith before he was taken to a hospital. On Nov. 13, the Contra Costa District Attorney charged Smith with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, along with special weapons’ enhancements.

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Video includes graphic content.

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