SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two Sacramento police officers fatally shot a knife-waving suspect in a confrontation on a city street Monday, said spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein.
Witnesses called police at 9:25 a.m. to report that a man dressed in black was walking down a street northeast of downtown Sacramento waving a knife over his head, and that he had a gun in his waistband and was showing “very threatening, erratic behavior,” Heinlein said.
Heinlein says the man charged the first officer to arrive, who locked himself in his squad car to escape.
Two more officers arrived and shot the man when he turned toward them with the knife on a different street corner. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, Heinlein said.
“He was non-compliant throughout the whole ordeal,” refusing repeated commands to drop the weapon, Heinlein said.
“He ultimately turned with the knife,” Heinlein said. “I’m not sure if he came at the officers … but he turned toward the officers in a threatening manner and at that point the officers fired.”
Witness Alton Ford told The Sacramento Bee that officers tried to calm the man without success.
“He was cussing at them,” said Ford. “They gave him plenty of opportunity.”
No gun was immediately found, though officers were still looking, Heinlein said. He said officers found a folding knife.
The suspect was described as a black man in his 50s or 60s.
The shooting comes amid high tensions nationwide over recent police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, and the slayings of five Dallas police officers as they guarded a Black Lives Matter march last week.
There was no indication that the man was targeting police officers, Heinlein said.
“It’s more erratic behavior,” he said of the circumstances leading to the confrontation. “At this point I don’t know what his mental stability was.”
Another witness, Melissa Gudis, also told the newspaper the man was acting erratically. She said he had both a knife and a gun.
Gudis said she heard the man say: “I’m the law, come and get me.”
She told KCRA-TV that the man kept throwing the knife in the air before police arrived. “Then he’s doing like kung fu action,” she said.
There were no immediate protests at the scene of the Sacramento shooting.
Another officer was injured during the pursuit but was not harmed by the suspect, he said. That officer was in stable condition at a hospital with a lower body injury, he said, and said the cause of the injury was being investigated.