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A Fullerton Police Officer Shot And Killed A 17-Year-Old Girl On The 91 Freeway

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Hannah Williams. (Courtesy of the Williams Family)

UPDATE: Fullerton Police have since released the officer's body camera video, which you can watch and read about here.

Last Friday, shortly before that 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook the region, a Fullerton police officer shot and killed a 17-year old girl on the 91 Freeway.

In the days following, few concrete details have emerged, but here's what we do know.

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In the early evening of July 5, a K-9 officer was headed eastbound on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim to take his dog to the vet. Just after 7 p.m., he noticed 17-year-old Hannah Williams driving in the same direction "at a high rate of speed" near the Kraemer/Glassell exit, according to the Orange County District Attorney.

"At some point," the two vehicles collided, the D.A. said.

Following the crash, the officer radioed that he had shot Williams. She died at the hospital later that night, police said.

Investigators recovered a replica Beretta 92 FS handgun at the scene "next to" Williams, according to the D.A.'s statement.

On Thursday, the Fullerton Police Department said it will release the officer's body cam footage, photographs and a description of the events leading up to the shooting "in the coming days."


Hannah Williams and her father Benson. (Courtesy of the Williams Family)

Hannah Williams lived with her family in Anaheim, with two younger siblings. An older sister is serving in the Air Force, Maupin said. Williams also worked as a lifeguard at Knott's Berry Farm's Soak City waterpark, according to her godmother Lanette Campbell.

(Courtesy of the Williams Family)
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"Hannah was a beloved daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, friend," Campbell told a news conference Tuesday. "She had her whole life ahead of her."


The events that precipitated the altercation between Williams and the officer are unclear.

Renay Arnold told NBC4 that, as she drove her car alongside the freeway, she saw Williams walking toward the officer, despite his commands for her to stop.

"She looked angry, and she was walking towards him," Arnold said. "She raised both arms with a 9 mm gun, and he had to shoot her."

Williams family spokesman Jarrett Maupin maintains Hannah was unarmed. He said she was driving a rental car, noting, "this was a young girl who had several siblings, and we don't know who that [replica] gun belonged to."

Maupin told LAist the Williams family has located a witness who saw Hannah with a cell phone in her hand. He has not responded to requests to make the witness available for an interview.

Investigators have not disclosed how many times Williams was shot. The results of the coroner's autopsy are being withheld pending the completion of the investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the D.A.

Williams' family says it plans to conduct an independent autopsy after her body is released. Her relatives are also calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to independently investigate the shooting.

For now, the Anaheim Police and the Orange County D.A. are investigating the shooting. The Fullerton Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into the officer's conduct.


July 11, 2019: This article was updated with the Fullerton Police Department's announcement that it will release the officer's body cam footage and other evidence.

This article was originally published July 10.

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