17-year-old girl allegedly killed by police on Southern California freeway; family demands answers

The family of a 17-year-old girl shot and killed by a Southern California police officer are demanding answers about the deadly Friday night shooting.

The incident occurred Friday evening in Anaheim. The Anaheim Police Department said in a news release that a Fullerton Police K9 officer radioed around 7 p.m. that he had been involved in a shooting on the freeway.

“A female suspect was struck by gunfire and was transported to a local hospital where she later died,” Anaheim police said.

No officers were injured during the shooting, police tweeted.

Police did not name the girl who died, but family members identified her as Hannah Williams.

According to Anaheim police, an “item appearing to be a handgun was recovered at the scene.” In a tweet, the Anaheim Police Department said the item will be tested to determine whether “it was real, functional, loaded.”

But Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a spokesman for the family, told NBC News on Tuesday that Williams did not have a gun on her when she was shot. The teen had a cellphone, he said.

“We know she was unarmed,” Maupin said.

Details leading up to the shooting are scarce. According to KTLA, initial reports indicate that the Fullerton officer’s police car had been struck by another vehicle moments before the shooting.

Maupin said Williams, who worked as a lifeguard, spent Friday with her family at their home in Anaheim before leaving that evening. He said the accident was “very minor.”

Williams, who had moved to the area less than a year ago with her family from Phoenix, was about two miles from home when the shooting occurred.

“We want to know why police felt the need to shoot and kill a 17 year old unarmed teen girl,” her father, Benson Williams, said in a statement.

Anaheim police said more information may be released this week after potential witnesses are interviewed.

“The freeway was packed and all potential witnesses need to be interviewed first. We cannot risk influencing someone’s statement, by releasing details prematurely,” the department tweeted.

The Fullerton Police Department did not return NBC News’ request for comment.

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