Hannah Williams shooting: Cops to release footage of incident on California freeway


Police in California will release bodycam footage from an officer who fatally shot a 17-year-old female driver after her speeding vehicle collided with the on-duty cop’s SUV, department officials said.

Fullerton police said Thursday they intend to release the footage from the officer-involved shooting, which killed Hannah Williams of Anaheim on the freeway July 5. They did not say when they would release it.

The cop who shot her was taking his K-9 to a vet for an appointment and saw the teen speeding before their two vehicles collided, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Williams was shot during the ensuing encounter and later died at a hospital. Prosecutors said a replica Beretta handgun was found next to the teen, but additional details about the incident have not been provided by authorities, her family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, said during a news conference Thursday.

“We’re only left to speculate, but she’s never been on the freeway before,” Merritt told ABC News of Williams. “We believe she went down a wrong road and was forced to get on the freeway and was trying to find her way off.”

A spokesman for Williams’ family told the Los Angeles Times that the replica Beretta 92 FS handgun was a toy. Investigators did not indicate to Williams’ family that she was holding the fake firearm at the time of the shooting, the newspaper reported.

Merritt said it remains a “mystery” how Williams went from having a “joyous moment” ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend to being shot by the unidentified officer.

“We need to know what happened,” said the victim’s sister, Nyla Williams, at Thursday’s news conference outside the district attorney’s office, according to ABC News. “She did not deserve to go like that. My parents don’t deserve that kind of sadness.”

The 19-year-old sibling said her sister, a senior at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, worked as a lifeguard and aspired to join the military one day.

“The BWC footage, independent witness interviews, physical evidence and an interview of the officer will all be taken into account in the independent investigations,” police said in Thursday’s statement.

Police said they are separately looking into Williams’ actions just prior to the shooting, and the district attorney’s office will review the officer’s actions to determine if deadly force was justified.

Merritt has said at least three witnesses have been interviewed by cops, including two who reported seeing Williams get out of her rental car while holding her cellphone. But one witness claimed Williams was holding the replica handgun when she was shot, according to ABC News, citing unspecified media reports.