Local Government

Critical Incident Community Briefing – Officer Involved Shooting

On Friday, February 10, 2023, at approximately 1:10 AM, Fullerton Police Officers located a vehicle in the area of Harbor Blvd and Chapman Ave that was wanted in connection with an armed robbery in San Bernardino County. Officers attempted to conduct a car stop on the vehicle, but it failed to yield and led officers on a pursuit through Fullerton and La Habra.

During the pursuit, the driver, later identified as Austin Heiselman, waved a handgun out of the window. Heiselman entered the intersection of Beach Blvd and Imperial Blvd in La Habra at a high rate of speed and against a red light, striking a vehicle that was legally traveling through the intersection. Heiselman’s vehicle flipped and immediately caught on fire. Heiselman exited his vehicle and fled on foot, running into a nearby shopping center. A police K9 was deployed in an attempt to detain him. As officers approached Heiselman, he took a shooting stance toward officers, at which point an officer-involved shooting occurred. Officers immediately began life-saving efforts until a Los Angeles County Fire Paramedic team arrived and pronounced Heiselman deceased.

A search of Heiselman revealed that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Two replica firearms and replica ammunition were located in Heiselman’s vehicle.

In an effort to be transparent with the community that we serve, the Fullerton Police Department is releasing its fifth Critical Incident Community Briefing, which will provide details to the community about the incident as we know them today. This includes Body Worn Camera (BWC) video footage from the incident itself, still photos, and police radio traffic. Please keep in mind this is an initial review, and our understanding of this incident could possibly change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed, and reviewed. The Fullerton Police Department also does not draw any conclusions as to whether or not our officers acted within our department policy and the law until all the facts are known and the independent investigation by the California Department of Justice is complete.

For more information on the CA DOJ Investigation, refer to https://oag.ca.gov/ois-incidents.

With the July 1, 2019, implementation of California Assembly Bill 748, California police agencies are required to release any relevant video or audio pertaining to the critical incident within 45 days. The California State Legislature allows for this 45-day release timeframe because there is an understanding that critical incidents are often complex, sensitive investigations, and it takes time to complete them in a thorough manner. As a reminder, while body-worn cameras are an excellent investigative tool, they do not always show what the officers may have seen, and vice versa; the officers don’t always see and experience what the body camera footage shows. We ask that the community keep this in mind when viewing these videos. Fullerton PD Investigators contacted Mr. Heiselman’s next of kin last week and offered them an opportunity to view this Critical Incident Community Briefing prior to its release.

Please be advised the images and content of this Critical Incident Community Briefing are graphic, and viewer discretion is advised. The Critical Incident Community Briefing, which is roughly 14-minutes in length, can be found by clicking the link below: https://youtu.be/2Bett_LVpxU

4 replies »

  1. This-is-just-weird-tragic. Overall weird, tragic for the deceased, the innocent driver who he plowed into, and the cops who had to take him down.

    Immediate questions:

    1. “Replica handgun AND ammunition”?? what the He** is “Replica Ammunition”?
    2. If he was trying SBC (suicide by cop), why did he run in the first place?
    3. Who in his right mind (the guy wasn’t obviously) points a fake gun at a bunch of cops after all that carnage?

    Gotta do some more digging on this one…”More will be revealed” as the saying goes…

    Here’s another: “Nothing good happens after midnight.” (Something I heard an old, retired NYC policeman say.)

    • Im on ur side i dont think they are saying what really happened he is my friend and it doesn’t make any sense to me i know him very well