Kurt Reinhold, 42, died Wednesday after two deputies from the sheriff department’s Homeless Outreach Team encountered him about 1:12 p.m. near the Hotel Miramar, Sheriff Don Barnes said in a news conference.
A physical altercation ensued, Barnes said, and Reinhold “grabbed one of the deputies’ weapons and appears to have tried to bring it out of the holster.” It’s unclear if Reinhold completely unholstered the weapon.
“It was a significant struggle with Mr. Reinhold that went on for some time, and the deputy did state four different times, ‘He’s got my gun,'” on four separate occasions,” Barnes said, citing a video independently provided by a witness.
One of the deputies shot twice, Barnes said. The deputies tried to provide medical treatment, but Reinhold was pronounced dead at the scene.
The shooting, according to protocol, is under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Barnes said, and the deputies have been placed on leave. They have not been identified.
The encounter was captured in surveillance video, but Barnes said it would not be released at this time, citing the ongoing investigation and pending interviews with witnesses.
“First and foremost, I want to extend my condolences to the Reinhold family,” Barnes said. “Any loss of life is always impactful to family members and friends of Mr. Reinhold, and we are truly sorry about what happened and how this unfolded.”
Several dozen protesters gathered Thursday morning to demonstrate after Reinhold’s shooting, Barnes said. Five were eventually arrested — four for allegedly blocking traffic, and another for allegedly vandalizing a police car.
“Given the current climate of police-community relations, I understand that this conversation is going to be a difficult one around this incident,” the sheriff said. He asked that anyone who is protesting do so peacefully.
Deputies are homeless liaison officers
The deputies involved in Reinhold’s shooting are 8- and 13-year veterans of the force and are homeless liaison officers assigned to the Homeless Outreach Team, Barnes said.
The team is made up of 25 members who engage members of the community experiencing homelessness and offer them services, whether it be connecting them with a shelter, medical treatment or substance abuse treatment, Barnes said. Their training includes crisis intervention and de-escalation.
The sheriff would not say why the deputies encountered Reinhlold on Wednesday due to the DA’s investigation, but said deputies had made contact with Reinhold in the previous 30 days to try to provide help.
It’s not uncommon for members of the team to contact an individual multiple times to build a rapport and start discussing services, Barnes said.
Orange County Sheriff deputies do not wear body cameras, though Barnes said the agency hopes to implement bodycams within the next two years.
“I want you to know how seriously the Orange County Sheriff’s Department takes our responsibility to provide professional and transparent law enforcement services to our community,” he said. “As your Sheriff, I commit to being forthright and transparent as this investigation continues.”
Barnes said at the news conference that the department will conduct a critical incident review and look at its policy, training, and procedures.
CNN’s Stella Chan contributed to this report.