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Ryan Gainer
Ryan Gainer

When Ryan Gainer was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, he was nonverbal, and his family all learned sign language to communicate with him. But after the southern California boy learned how to speak at around age four, he was a “ball of energy” who never stopped talking, his older sister Rachel said.

Ryan was killed on March 9th when officers responded to a 911 call from one of his family members, who reported he was breaking things in their house and “hitting” his sister, but that she wasn’t injured. Body-camera footage showed that two San Bernardino sheriff deputies shot Ryan within roughly five seconds of seeing him. The videos captured someone inside the home saying Ryan had a “stick”, then Ryan appearing in the doorway. He moved toward a deputy, who immediately threatened to shoot – and fired as he ran from Ryan.

The department said Ryan was holding a 5ft-long gardening tool with a “sharp” end and labeled the encounter an “attempted murder of peace officer” in a press release. Ryan appeared to be holding the tool over his head, but the footage didn’t clearly capture the moment of the shooting nor did it show him attacking or attempting to assault the officer.

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