According to an affidavit submitted by the two Baton Rouge police officers who shot Alton Sterling, Sterling reached for a handgun, which was visible in his front pocket, before the officers opened fire, killing him.
The Advocate reports that the affidavit was one portion of a search warrant submitted by the Baton Rouge Police Department to retrieve surveillance video from the Triple S Food Mart.
The affidavit states that Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II confronted Sterling, 37, at the store at roughly 12:30 a.m. on July 5. Sterling refused their order to place his hands on the hood of a car. The officers first used stun guns on Sterling because they "were attempting to subdue the subject," but then “observed the butt of a gun in (his) front pants pocket.
The affidavit asserts that Sterling "attempted to reach for the gun from his pocket, the officers fired their police-issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat. The subject was shot multiple times."
Meanwhile, Triple S owner Abdullah Muflahi alleged that police stole a surveillance tape from the store and locked him in his car for four hours. He filed a lawsuit against the police department. Muflahi stated:
I felt like a criminal at the time, and there's one of the detectives that I knocked on the window and told him it was really hot and I asked if I could sit outside by the car. And he just got really angry and started saying ‘you need to chill the f--k out until we get this because we're handling something right now. It wasn't right and I shouldn't have been treated like I was the one who shot the guy. They didn't handcuff me or read me any rights. They just put me in the back of a car. The seat was really hot and it felt like I was sitting on hot coals.
Joel Porter, Muflahi’s attorney, snapped, “Not only did Sterling lose his life but my client lost his liberty. They act like this is a police state, like it's North Korea, like they can do this without impunity. This was done in order to intimidate my client. They did not want him to tell the truth.”
(Sterling) "attempted to reach for the gun from his pocket, the officers fired their police-issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat."
Affidavit from Baton Rouge police officers who shot Alton Sterling
Blue Lives Matter explains that it was quite possible Sterling was reaching for his gun when he was shot; their analysis can be seen here.