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Douglas Zerby
  • Death date
  • Dec. 12, 2010

Douglas Zerby, 35 [Updated]

Douglas Zerby, a 35-year-old white man, was shot and killed by police Sunday, Dec. 12, in the 5300 block of East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Two Long Beach police officers responded to a 911 call at 4:40 p.m. from a neighbor reporting an intoxicated man holding a "six shooter" that looked like an antique gun.

"The officers had a position of cover and were observing the suspect while other officers were en route," said Sgt. Dina Zapalski, a spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department.

Zapalski said Zerby was in a seated position when he extended his arms while holding the gun-like object and pointed it at an officer.

Photo: The water nozzle Douglas Zerby was carrying when he was fatally shot by Long Beach police officers. Credit: Long Beach Police Department Investigators later determined that Zerby was actually holding a black pistol-grip water nozzle with a metal tip, she said.

He was shot in the torso with a shotgun and handgun, then handcuffed, Zapalski said. He died at the scene.

Zerby's older sister, Eden Marie Biele, said she was upset upon hearing of her brother's death.

"Our brother was killed for no reason," she said. "We're outraged. You can't get drunk in the city of Long Beach and not get shot? You're trying to do the responsible thing and not drive and you get shot? Is that standard protocol? They didn't wait for backup, they just shot him."

Zerby had been waiting on the stoop for his friend to come home. He often frequented the building after he had been drinking and was known among the neighbors, his sister said. It was a new neighbor who was not familiar with her brother who made the 911 call, she said.

[Update Sept. 28, 2011: Prosecutions demanded in deadly Long Beach police shootings]

[Update Nov. 3, 2011: Long Beach officers cleared in 'water nozzle' fatal shooting case]

[Update Nov. 4, 2011: Federal probe sought in fatal shooting of man holding nozzle]

[Update April 3, 2013: Police must pay $6.5 million after killing man holding water nozzle]

-- Nardine Saad

Photo: The water nozzle Douglas Zerby was carrying when he was fatally shot by Long Beach police officers. Credit: Long Beach Police Department

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