Man dies after Fullerton police shoot him multiple times with 'less-lethal' beanbag rounds

A man died this week after Fullerton police shot him multiple times with "less-lethal" beanbag rounds after confronting him outside a McDonald's restaurant where he had been acting erratically, police said.

The manager at the fast food restaurant called police early Wednesday to report two men standing outside the business who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, the Fullerton Police Department said in a news release.

Officers arrived at about 3 a.m. at the restaurant in the 1300 block of South Brookhurst Road, where they found the two men standing outside near the front doors, police said. Management called police because restaurant employees were starting to arrive for work.

Read more: LAPD's 'less-lethal' projectile launchers are leading to deadly encounters, report finds

One of the men was not wearing a shirt when police arrived and ignored them when they tried to get his attention, police said. The man then began to swing a belt at officers as they approached him, and more police were called to the scene.

Officers tried to subdue the man with a Taser stun gun, but it failed to work. He continued to act erratically, according to police, and that's when officers fired several "less-lethal" rounds at the man. He continued to swing the belt while officers shot at him, according to video from OC Hawk. The man appeared to drop to his knees, and officers moved in to detain him.

Police began to give the man first aid before paramedics arrived at the scene. He was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries, according to police.

"At this time in the investigation, it is believed the suspect sustained significant injury to the chest area as a result of the use of the less-lethal kinetic energy projectile," Fullerton police said.

The incident is under investigation by the Orange County district attorney's office because the man died while in police custody. A spokesperson for the Orange County sheriff-coroner's office said the man's identity had not been confirmed by his next of kin.

Orange County investigators did not reveal what variety of less-lethal rounds were used by police on Wednesday.

Foam or rubber rounds categorized as "less lethal" by law enforcement are meant to spread the force of impact over a larger area on a person's body without penetrating the skin, according to a recent report submitted to the Los Angeles Police Department's Board of Police Commissioners.

The report found that the LAPD fired the 40-millimeter projectiles at least 133 times in 2023, including five incidents in which officers used both launchers and firearms resulted in fatalities.

On Feb. 3, LAPD officers killed Jason Maccani after they shot him with a 40-millimeter projectile and two beanbag rounds. Maccani's family said that he was experiencing a bipolar episode when he was shot by police and holding a plastic fork.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.