On April 5, 26-year-old Diante Yarber was sitting in a Barstow, California Walmart parking lot.
Yarber, nicknamed Butchie, had given his cousin and a friend a ride to the superstore and was waiting for their return to the car.
Barstow police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle in the Walmart parking lot.
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Law enforcement saw Yarber in his black Mustang.
According to the San Bernardino Sherriff’s Department, “Officers attempted a traffic stop of the Mustang when the driver suddenly reversed the vehicle and struck one of the patrol cars. When the driver again accelerated toward the officers and struck a second patrol car, the officer involved stepped out and shooting occurred.”
30 shots were fired to be exact. Yarber was unarmed. His cousin was unharmed but the other passenger, Marian Tafoya was severely wounded.
Yarber was never questioned, yet was labeled as a “suspect wanted for questioning in a recent crime involving a stolen vehicle.”
Yarber’s aunt, Aleta Yarber confirmed that the Mustang belonged to her son and at no time was it reported as stolen.
Yarber left behind three children aged 9, 7 and 1.
According to The Root, S. Lee Merritt, attorney Diante Yarber’s estate and heirs stated, “Diante Yarber was profiled, stalked and murdered by Barstow PD officers.” He went on to say, “Barstow PD confronted a vehicle full of people, suspected of nothing more than “looking suspicious” with an amount of force that would have been deemed excessive in a war zone. Near 10AM in a crowded parking lot, police officers decided to halt Yarber’s vehicle by unleashing over 30 rifle rounds in the windshield and driver side door. Training and policy dictates that police should never fire at moving vehicles because it only increases the danger to others if they successfully disable the driver. The investigation has revealed Yarber was unarmed and that the officers were not in the path of his vehicle when they opened fire. Yarber was struck an estimated two dozen times in the barrage of bullets. His back seat passenger, Marian Tafoya, was struck in her abdomen and leg and had to be airlifted to emergency treatment.”
Merritt concluded, “This is the worst case of excessive and unnecessary force I have seen in my career, The Yarber family deserves answers in the form of transparency by the Barstow Police Department. Body, dash and surveillance video must be turned over to my office immediately. The San Bernardino County district attorney must thoroughly investigate and zealously prosecute the gunman involved.”