Note: This story describes the video of the shooting but does not display it. The video, which after this story was published was replaced by an updated version that did not say David Kahler had felony convictions, can be viewed on the Burbank Police Department’s YouTube page.
The Burbank Police Department released a video this week of an officer shooting a Nevada man just feet away from his stepson in a local hotel parking lot last month.
The roughly 18-minute edited and narrated video, released on the BPD’s website and social media pages on Wednesday, contains body camera and surveillance footage of the shooting. The department said the footage shows Las Vegas, Nevada resident David William Kahler pointing a handgun at officers after they were called to the Quality Inn Burbank Airport hotel on the morning of March 8 regarding an unattended child — Kahler’s stepson.
The video shows the shooting from multiple angles, including that of the officer who shot Kahler. The officer is seen raising his firearm toward Kahler, who is in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the Quality Inn parking lot, as the boy attempts to get into the vehicle.
Kahler, Lt. Derek Green of the BPD said in the video, was pointing a handgun at the officer when the latter fired his weapon. Body camera footage shows the officer shooting through the car windshield three times, causing Kahler’s stepson — standing outside the car — to scream.
“He’s my dad, stop!” the 7-year-old boy can be heard yelling.
The officer shouts to his partner, “Get the kid out of here, get the kid out of here!”
Seconds later, two other police vehicles pull into the parking lot, with officers quickly surrounding the vehicle.
Kahler, 30, later died at a local trauma center; police did not give a time of death. Green said a loaded 9mm handgun was recovered from the scene of the shooting, though it had not been fired. He also said that the gun was reported stolen in an alleged February vehicle burglary in Las Vegas.
Green, who narrated the sequence of events in the video, said that the department’s investigation into the use of force remains ongoing, and could take up to a year. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating, as will the Office of Independent Review — a company that provides external oversight to the BPD.
Green said Kahler and his stepson walked to the Quality Inn hotel’s parking lot from the nearby highway after being involved in a traffic collision on March 8. Their vehicle, Green added, was suspected of being stolen, though Kahler’s wife Heather told the Burbank Leader it was purchased without a title.
Surveillance footage then shows Kahler attempting to enter a vehicle — which hotel employees said did not belong to him — in the parking lot. After failing to do so, Green said, Kahler left his stepson in the parking lot and walked down neighboring streets, attempting to enter other parked vehicles.
Kahler eventually stole a car in the 2200 block of North Frederick Street, according to Green, and drove it back to the Quality Inn.
Meanwhile, a hotel employee had called the BPD regarding Kahler’s stepson at about 4:44 a.m., saying he had been left unattended for about half an hour.
Two officers arrived at the parking lot at just before 5 a.m. and spoke with the child, who said he was waiting for his father who “said he was going to go get a car,” according to body camera footage.
At about 5:20 a.m. surveillance video shows Kahler arriving at the hotel parking lot and exiting his vehicle briefly before returning to the driver’s seat as officers approach. Body camera footage shows the child observing Kahler’s return, picking up his belongings and walking over to the car. One of the officers attempted to prevent the boy from entering the car out of a concern for his safety, Green said.
When the officers approached, according to Green, Kahler raised a firearm as he sat behind the wheel and was shot through the windshield. Neither the officers nor the child were injured. Sgt. Emil Brimway of the BPD said that both officers have returned to field duty.
Previously, the most recently reported fatal shooting by Burbank officers was in 2003, during a gunfight between police and two men. One police officer also died due to that shooting.
WIDOW RESPONDS TO VIDEO
Heather Kahler, David’s wife, said Burbank police didn’t tell her the video was going to be released, and learned about it only when the Leader contacted her for an interview. The video, she feels, is “blasphemous.”
“The way that they’re trying to make him look is like he’s this violent thug, and that is not the case,” she said. “This man was a provider. He loved his family, he would do whatever he needed to [do] to make sure we were safe and had what we needed.”
In particular, Heather Kahler disputes the video’s depiction of her husband — whom she married on Jan. 1 — as someone who “had an extensive criminal history including several felony convictions.”
Clark County, Nevada court records show that a man named David Kahler was initially charged on multiple occasions for felonies, including drug possession, burglary and assault, but that the charges were dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors. One case involving a felony possession of a stolen vehicle remained active as of February.
Heather Kahler said she is considering filing a lawsuit against the police department.
While she acknowledged that it appears her husband stole a vehicle that morning, and that he made “a lot of bad decisions,” she believes the video doesn’t clearly show David pointing a gun at officers, suggesting instead that he may have been trying to hand it to officers.
The family was traveling along the West Coast last month when Heather Kahler and her daughter heard their cats were missing, she said, leaving David and their son with plans to meet up later. She last spoke with him on the night of March 7.
Her son is now in therapy, Heather Kahler explained, but is “not doing good.”
“He came home to me a different child than when he left,” she said.