Hayward PD Critical Incident Video Release
HAYWARD, Calif., May 21, 2021 – Today, the Hayward Police Department released police officer body-worn camera video, security camera video, and other information relevant to the March 16, 2021 officer-involved shooting that occurred in the Motel 6 parking lot in the 30000 block of Industrial Pkwy SW.
Initially, the body-worn camera footage and other video was withheld to preserve the integrity of the investigation in the interest of justice for all parties involved. While this remains a valid concern, video footage and other information is now being shared so that the Hayward Police Department can remain as transparent with the community as possible, even as we continue to investigate the matter.
Leading up to the incident, officers were investigating a string of violent robberies that largely targeted elderly women returning to their cars after leaving a bank or an ATM. During the robberies, the suspect(s) physically assaulted and took the purses of the women as they got into their vehicles. On several cases, the suspect(s) smashed the passenger side windows and took the women’s purses from inside their cars.
On March 11, 2021 at about 12:00PM, security cameras captured one of the robberies in a shopping center parking lot on Hesperian Blvd. The suspect’s car, a blue Volvo, entered the camera’s view and drove to the back of the parking lot of the shopping center and parked in a stall.
A man exited the Volvo, smashed the window of a Maroon SUV, and robbed the victim inside the SUV. The man got back into the Volvo and sped out of the parking lot. Security footage revealed the Volvo to have a white passenger side mirror as it fled the area.
On March 15, 2021, officers conducted extra patrol in the same shopping center where the robberies had occurred. Officers saw what appeared to be the same Volvo from the previous robbery, which fled at a high rate of speed when officers tried to contact the occupants.
On March 16, 2021, Officer Michael Miller, Officer Christopher Suozzo and Officer Dynaton Tran located the same blue Volvo in the Motel 6 parking lot in the 30000 block of Industrial Pkwy SW. As officers approached the car and parked in front of it to detain the three occupants, the driver accelerated and rammed police vehicles multiple times. This is when the officer involved shooting took place.
Officers ordered the driver, later identified as 22-year-old Caleb Smith, out of vehicle. After several minutes he complied and medical aid was immediately administered by officers until paramedics arrived. Mr. Smith was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The two other passengers in the car, a man and woman, were not injured and were detained. An officer was also transported to a hospital and was treated for minor injuries.
A firearm was recovered inside the Volvo.
Prior to this incident, there were at least 12 known robberies since December of 2020 in Hayward, and many more throughout the Bay Area. Mr. Smith is believed to be involved in at least one of these robberies and the investigation is ongoing to determine Mr. Smith’s involvement in other robberies in the area.
We are still in the process of conducting this investigation and our understanding of this incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed, and reviewed. We also do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted consistent with our policies and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete.
Anytime Hayward Police Officers use force, regardless of degree, it is a serious matter that requires a thorough investigation. The Hayward Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau will investigate the actions of Mr. Smith. The Hayward Police Department Internal Affairs Unit will investigate whether our officers acted within policy. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has been notified and will review this incident. Per the City of Hayward’s policy, the case will be referred to the California Office of the Attorney General.
This video release has been made available on our social media platforms and can also be located on the Critical Incident Briefing page of the Hayward Police Department’s website at www.hayward-ca.gov/critical-incident.
Download the full press release.