Alton Sterling, left, the video of his fatal shooting middle, recorded by his friend and Dearborn native Abdullah Muflahi.
(WJBK) - When Alton Sterling was killed on Tuesday in Louisiana, the incident unfolded just a few feet away from a Dearborn native who recorded it with his cell phone. He held his video back until he thought police were not giving the whole story.
Abdullah Muflahi stood outside his Louisiana store and watched police kill his friend, 37-year-old Sterling.
"I was two or three feet away when it happened," he said.
Moments before he sensed something wasn't right, he pulled out his cell phone and recorded this troubling video, which has now become key evidence in a federal civil rights investigation.
"God bless his soul. It could have been handled differently, much differently on both sides," he said. "It could have been handled differently."
Muflahi graduated from Fordson High School and now owns the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge where he says Sterling has been selling CDs outside for years. It was there officials said officers responded to a 911 call on Tuesday night. A homeless man says Sterling pulled out his gun after he asked him for money.
Muflahi told reporters he walked out the door and saw the officers speaking to Sterling. He claims the chaos didn't erupt until the officers tasered and tackled Sterling. That's when Muflahi pulled out his cell phone and began recording.
"He didn't know what was going on the whole time they were trying to get him down on the floor," Muflahi said.
An officer yelled, "He has a gun," and seconds later officers, who had Sterling pinned down, fired their weapons multiple times, killing him.
Following the shooting, officers removed a gun from Sterling's pocket - but Muflahi reportedly said Sterling was never holding that weapon. His hands weren't even close to his gun - and then he provided his cell phone video to prove it.
"He had a lot of respect, a lot of people loved him," said Muflahi. "He never caused any problems with anyone."
A federal investigation is under way. Muflahi says he thought police were going to release his video, and told reporters that police seized his cell phone video that night without a search warrant and never released it. That was why he felt it was necessary to release his.
Sterling's shooting death is one of two that sparked national protests. The other is of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop Wednesday night. His girlfriend went live to Facebook after the fact.
Both Sterling and Castile's deaths prompted Black Lives Matter protests across the nation in the past couple days. Just last night in Dallas, five police officers were fatally shot during a protest by a sniper. At least seven others were injured in the sniper attack. You can continue reading the lastest developments from Dallas here.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.