Sandra Sterling, aunt of the Baton Rouge man shot by police early Tuesday, says the family’s hopes that Alton Sterling didn’t suffer before he died were shattered by a second video of the shooting that surfaced Wednesday.
“I was thinking, I was hoping that he died peacefully and instantly. No, he didn’t. He suffered,” Sandra Sterling told CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday. “He was reaching out and talking. It killed me inside.”
Equally distressing, she said, was officers’ reaction after the shooting: “As he was dying, they were down on their knees with their guns still pointing at him while he was dying, and I seen his hand reach up as if he was grabbing for somebody and he said something until his hand went down and that was it. Everybody walked away.”
Sandra Sterling maintains that her nephew didn’t own a gun, and she disputed reports that officers found a gun in his pocket after the shooting.
“I didn’t see a gun,” she said. “I saw a phone come out of his pocket. That’s what I saw, a phone. ... I don’t think he had a gun.”
Sandra Sterling and the family’s attorney, Edmond Jordan, told Lemon neither Alton Sterling’s past criminal record nor anything he did leading up the the shooting justified his death.
“When they tased him in the first video, I can hear him asking him, what did I do?” Sandra Sterling said. “He was still trying to figure out, what did I do? You charged me with a gun, you came at me with a gun. What did I do?
“Nobody explained it to him. He was trying to figure out, what did I do?”