Hawthorne, CA – A wailing, disruptive woman placed herself in the line of fire on June 7, when she barged into a scene where police were taking a robbery and assault suspect into custody at gunpoint (video below).
The incident occurred at the intersection of Prairie Avenue and El Segundo Boulevard, the woman said in the now-viral cell phone footage.
“They have their guns drawn on this young, black man right here,” she railed, panning over to show a man on his knees facing away from police. “Why are your guns pulled on this young man?”
The suspect, later identified as 24-year-old William Ewell, had been stopped by Hawthorne police after an officer was flagged down by citizens at a gas station at approximately 6:45 a.m., the department said in a press release.
A gas station employee pointed to a male walking across the street, and told the officer he had just assaulted another employee inside the store.
While the officer was gathering information about what had occurred, a witness called 911 to report that a robbery had just taken place at the same location, and that “there were possible weapons involved,” according to the press release.
The officer was able to keep sight of the suspect the witnesses were pointing at, and drove across the intersection to detain him.
He was later identified as Ewell.
Cell phone footage showed Ewell as he hollered over his shoulder at the officers and told them he was unarmed.
“He has no weapons on him!” the woman parroted. “We live right now! We are so live!”
She then interrupted the officers at the scene, and began distracting Ewell by asking him for his name, at which point he began flailing his arms and telling her that people down by the gas station had “attacked” him.
Ewell dropped his hands to speak to the woman, making them no longer visible to the officers who were holding him at gunpoint from behind.
“Get out of my way! Get out of my way!” one of the officers yelled at her, motioning to the side.
Although the officer’s weapon was pointed at Ewell, the woman had positioned herself in front of him, and was directly in the line of fire.
“Are you gonna shoot him?” she asked the officer. “Relax, because they will shoot you – they killed my boyfriend in 2015. Yes, he was killed by the police!”
“You gonna shoot me too, right? For filming, right?” she asked the officers, while still standing in the line of fire. “We live! Look at that big -ss gun she got on this man with no weapon!”
Additional officers rushed to the scene as the officers continued to hold Ewell at gunpoint.
“Is all that really necessary, ma’am?” the woman behind the camera asked. “I’m sorry. I just need to know. Is all the guns drawn on him necessary?”
The woman identified herself as “Sky,” and said that her boyfriend, Leroy Browning, was killed by police in 2015.
“He was killed December 15 at a Taco Bell,” she said simply.
Browning, 30, was already wanted for shooting a victim in a residential robbery when he crashed his vehicle into the business’s drive-thru at approximately 3 a.m., the Los Angeles Daily News reported at the time.
He initially appeared unconscious, but began fighting with police as they tried to conduct field sobriety tests on him at the scene.
Browning then wrapped his arms around one of the deputies, and “began pulling at the deputy’s gun,” police said.
During the struggle that ensued, the deputy warned his colleagues that Browning had gained control of his weapon, and one of the deputies shot Browning multiple times.
The fatal officer-involved shooting was later determined to have been justified, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sky began wailing in the video as she demanded to know why the officers were holding Ewell at gunpoint.
“Are y’all about to kill this man? Like, look at these big -ss guns they got on this man right now!” she bawled. “Look at this baby!”
Meanwhile, one of the officers ordered Ewell to walk backwards towards her.
“Can y’all just put y’all guns away and somebody get him?” Sky interrupted.
Sky then began begging Ewell not to move, despite the commands the officer was giving him.
A large group of officers ultimately moved forward and placed the suspect into handcuffs, while a couple more officers made their way over to Sky.
The officer calmly explained that Ewell had been stopped because he matched the description of an armed robbery suspect.
“It says a weapon was involved,” the officer explained. “That’s the only reason why he gets held at gunpoint, okay? It’s just for our safety and everybody around’s safety.”
The officer worked to calm Sky down, then asked how she was connected to Ewell.
“I don’t even know him,” she sobbed. “I’m just getting gas. But I care that much!”
The officer then walked away from her, as she began complaining about the police being “ignorant,” the video showed.
While Ewell was being detained, other officers apprehended a second suspect pointed out to them by store employees, the Hawthorne Police Department (HPD) said in the press release.
He was identified as 38-year-old Antoine Freeman.
Investigators determined that Ewell, Freeman, and a third unidentified suspect had gone into the store to argue with a female cashier “over a prior purchase,” according to the press release.
“Ewell then walked behind the counter where the cashier was standing and forcibly grabbed store items from the display,” police said in the release. “The female cashier attempted to stop [Ewell] at which time she was assaulted by the subjects.”
Additional employees were able to “force” the attackers out of the store, according to the press release.
Ewell then allegedly hurled a trashcan, striking one of the employees in the face.
Freeman and Ewell were both arrested for their roles in the robbery and assaults, but police were unable to locate the third suspect.
You can watch Sky’s footage of the scene in the video below: