Six police officers in California fatally shot a 21-year-old rapper, saying he had a handgun in his lap and made a sudden movement after they found him sleeping in his car outside of a local Taco Bell, authorities said.

Officials in Vallejo told the San Francisco Chronicle that police discovered the local artist, identified as Willie McCoy or “Willie Bo,” sleeping in a drive-through lane with a handgun in his lap over the weekend.

Police were reportedly called to the restaurant late Saturday after an employee said he found a driver slumped over in his car.


Police said in a statement to the local paper that they initially found McCoy unresponsive with the handgun in his lap and that he suddenly moved at one point as they were examining him. 

Officials said they told McCoy to keep his hands visible, but when he allegedly reached for his weapon, they discharged their weapons “in fear for their own safety.”

McCoy died at the scene. 

According to the Guardian, police said the six officers each fired shots within four seconds, but wouldn't disclose how many bullets hit McCoy.

McCoy’s family has since publicly questioned the police response.

“There was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution,” Marc McCoy, Willie McCoy’s older brother, told the Guardian. “The police’s job is to arrest people who are breaking the law — not take the law into your own hands. You’re not judge, jury and executioner. ... We’re never going to get over this.” 

McCoy’s older brother told the publication that he suspected the officers had startled his brother awake during the incident and should have tried to order him from the vehicle instead of shooting him.

“Police are trained to shoot first and hurt you first,” he told the outlet. “They do not respect black people. Even when they have a person subdued and their life is not in danger, they continue to be blatantly physically disrespectful. That is just accepted in America.” 

McCoy's family has since called on the officers involved in McCoy’s death to face criminal prosecution.

“We cannot fathom why they would have to shoot him. This was senseless ... shooting a man sleeping in his car,” David Harrison, McCoy’s cousin, told the Guardian. “We want to make sure this never happens again to another person.”