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Video footage of fatal La Mesa police shooting released

La Mesa police officer-involved shooting 8-6-23
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 20:48:09-04

LA MESA (CNS) - Authorities Thursday released video footage of a police shooting that left a gun-wielding burglary suspect dead two weeks ago in a neighborhood near the junction of Interstate 8 and state Route 125 in La Mesa.

The images show Jason Hampton, 41, pointing a 9mm pistol at La Mesa police Officer Brian Heller as the lawman confronted him in a parking lot at an apartment complex in the 8000 block of University Avenue shortly after 4 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Hampton was standing next to the open passenger-side door of a pickup truck when Heller walked toward him from in front of the parked vehicle and a second officer from behind it, their uniform-worn cameras recording the scene.

RELATED: One dead following officer-involved shooting at La Mesa apartment complex

As he approached, Heller called out the suspect's first name, then asked, "Are you Jason?" Hampton, a La Mesa resident who was the subject of a felony burglary warrant, said no.

After Heller called his name again, the suspect aimed a pistol at the officer from behind the door of the truck and allegedly pulled the trigger repeatedly, to no effect.

Heller responded by firing five shots at Hampton, who turned and bolted. As Hampton ran toward the street, he appeared to be trying to clear the jammed gun, according to police.

A few seconds after the first round of gunfire sounded, the fleeing suspect turned back toward Heller, his pistol still in hand, just as the lawman discharged four more shots at him.

Hampton then fell face first onto the edge of a driveway in front of the residential complex, where he died.

The encounter resulted in no other injuries, though a passing vehicle and a building were struck by gunfire, police said.

When investigators impounded the suspect's gun, it had a partially ejected, intact cartridge stuck in its chamber, rendering it incapable of firing, according to police.

Heller has been with the La Mesa Police Department for about six years. He was placed on paid leave pending completion of investigations in the case, as is routine in instances of law enforcement shootings.

The San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit was called in to investigate the case, as mandated by a countywide policy that bars law enforcement agencies from determining the appropriateness and legality of their own uses of lethal force.

The county District Attorney's Office, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office also will monitor the case, which is standard in reviews of police shootings.

WARNING: The video below contains graphic content.

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