A protest over the death of a homeless Black man shot by a sheriff’s deputy outside a San Clemente hotel turned unruly Thursday when activists tried to take over a street near the place where the killing occurred.
Five arrests were made at the protest, which started about 10 a.m. in front of the Hotel Miramar at El Camino Real and Avenida San Gabriel — the area where deputies shot 42-year-old Kurt Andras Reinhold about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, said Orange County Sheriff‘s Sgt. Dennis Breckner.
Four people were taken into custody for disorderly conduct, and one was arrested for vandalism, he said.
About 40 to 50 protesters wre acting “peacefully” when a handful stepped out into the road, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“Those who refused to get out of the street were arrested,” Barnes said, noting that one of the suspects is accused of scratching a patrol car.
Two deputies assigned to the department’s homeless outreach team were in the area Wednesday afternoon when something prompted them to contact Reinhold outside the hotel, Breckner said.
Barnes did not go into detail as to what prompted the deputies, one an eight-year veteran and the other a 13-year veteran of the department, to contact Reinhold. He said the deputies have not yet been interviewed.
Reinhold was homeless and had been in the area for about 30 days, Barnes said. Deputies had previously reached out to Reinhold, whose last known address was in Los Angeles, to try to help him get into a shelter, but he rebuffed the offers of help, the sheriff said.
The homeless outreach team includes three sergeants and 33 deputies and they are all trained on de-escalating conflict and to interact with the mentally ill, Barnes said.
“I want to extend my condolences to Mr. Reinhold’s family,” he said. “We are truly sorry about what happened.”
According to Breckner, surveillance video from a nearby business shows Reinhold attempting to grab a weapon from one of the deputies.
Barnes said one of the two deputies was heard saying, “He’s got my gun,” but said it’s unclear whether Reinhold managed to get the deputy’s weapon out of its holster.
One of the two deputies fired twice at Reinhold, who died at the scene, Barnes said.
Barnes implored the media and the public to refrain from speculation and to let the investigative process play out. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will conduct the investigation, which is routine in deputy- involved incidents.
— From Staff and Wire Reports