ATF agents are claiming that a Milwaukee man who died in what is being described as a officer involved shooting was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot on Thursday (December 15th). However, a video from a citizen’s dash cam that surfaced on Friday has raised some questions about that explanation.
In the video (embedded below), the man, who has yet to be identified publicly, can be seen be run into by a ATF van as he runs across a street in an attempt to avoid a large contingent of federal agents in plain clothes. The agents had been pursuing the unnamed suspect in order to serve an arrest warrant on him.
The man can be clearly seen in the street before he is struck by the van and thrown to the ground by the impact. Due to the distance between the car recording the video and the van, it’s not apparent what, if anything, the man might have in his hand and no gunshot can be heard, although a large number of heavily armed agents can be seen converging on the area where he is lying immobile.
FOX6 News has obtained exclusive video the ATF itself says it now wants to see.
“It was just so, so, so strange and there’s no way to tell except there was something serious going on,” said Thomas Kopatich, witnessed the aftermath. (sic)
Thomas Kopatich was at his sister’s place, near 34th and Greenfield Thursday afternoon — he says he heard a gunshot.
“I didn’t know if it was a shot for sure so something told me to look outside and I looked out the window and I could see a huge amount of police pursuing someone who was already laying on the ground,” said Kopatich.
The ATF says the person agents went to arrest died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It says it has yet to see the video from a dashcam in a civilians (sic) car.
After the moment of impact in the video, agents in civilian clothes clear the area.
“He was laying there the whole time. There was an armored truck in the middle of the street and police were in cover positions everywhere,” said Kopatich.
Kopatich says the person appearing to be struck by a law enforcement van in the video is the one he saw on the ground when he came outside.
“That was definitely the guy and I could actually see myself coming out on the porch right there, that’s me,” Kopatich said while watching the video.
Friday, the ATF maintains the wanted subject died of a self-inflicted gunshot. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office says it can’t release any information since the case is on non-disclosure.
Kopatich says the size of the response, and now the video, has left him confused.
“Who is this guy? What did he do,” asked Kopatich. “Why don’t we know what’s happening if it’s so serious?”
The man doesn’t appear to move at all once he is struck by the van, which does raise some questions about the claim that he shot himself. As does the fact that such a large number of armed agents can be seen quickly reaching his location. In addition, none of them visibly react or make any effort to take cover, as would be expected if the man had fired a gun, also seems to contradict that assertion.
A gun shot wound would obviously be pretty apparent and easily distinguished from injuries being struck by a car would cause. If he in fact died from a gunshot, the question is when did that happen. There’s no evidence on that video of it having been prior to him being placed into custody after he was hit by the van.