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Video of fatal College-Area police shooting released

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Posted at 4:44 PM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-22 20:53:39-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities Tuesday released video footage of a police shooting that left a fugitive dead last week at a College-area apartment complex.

At the time of his death, Xavier Bejamine Lacosta, 31, was a suspect in a car-to-car firearm assault that led to a fatal police shooting two weeks earlier in Clairemont Mesa, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Having obtained a warrant for Lacosta's arrest, officers went to his third-floor rental residence at the Plaza Apartments in the 6100 block of El Cajon Boulevard at about 6:45 p.m. last Tuesday.

RELATED: Armed man killed in College Area officer-involved shooting

Personnel surrounded the building and contacted the suspect via telephone calls and verbal call-outs from the hallway outside his apartment.

Lacosta eventually opened his front door with a pistol in his hand, police said. He complied with officers' repeated commands to drop the weapon, but allegedly ignored their orders to back away from it.

The momentary standoff ended when Lacosta lunged for the gun, according to police. Officer Gregory Simon, his uniform-worn video camera recording the encounter, responded by firing about a half-dozen shots from his service rifle, killing the suspect at the scene.

WARNING: The video below contains graphic content.

Simon, who has served with the SDPD since September 2016, is assigned to its Special Operations Unit.

Lacosta was believed to have been behind the wheel of a vehicle involved in a predawn roadway shooting near San Diego Mesa College on Aug. 2.

The motorist targeted by the gunfire reported being shot at by two men in a white Tesla sedan just east of the junction of Interstate 805 and state Route 163 shortly before 1:30 a.m., according to police. The victim was unharmed, though the shooting left bullet holes in the windshield and rear window of his car.

About an hour later, SDPD personnel investigating the apparent road- rage firearm assault came across one of the suspected shooters, later identified as 33-year-old Benjamin Pickens, in the 7200 block of Mesa College Circle.

Pickens, who had a handgun tucked in his left armpit, ignored officers' orders to disarm himself and surrender and soon began walking off toward a nearby empty lot, police said.

At that point, a canine-handler officer released his service dog, a Belgian Malinois named Sir, who ran toward the suspect.

Pickens allegedly responded by turning, drawing his pistol and pointing it in the direction of police. At that point, SDPD Officer Addam Ansari shot Pickens in the chest with a rifle.

The mortally wounded suspect then fatally shot the service dog.

Pickens was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Ansari, who is assigned to the SDPD Western Division, has been employed by the department for 11 years.

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