SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)—San Francisco police on Monday identified two officers who shot and killed a mentally disturbed man earlier this month as Nathan Chew and Paul Dominguez.
Both officers are assigned to the field operations bureau, police said. Chew has been on the force for nine years, and Dominguez has been serving for a decade.
At a town hall on Thursday, police released more details in the shooting, which took place on the night of Oct. 14 in the city’s Lake Shore neighborhood. A police officer was also shot in the head and seriously injured that night.
The suspect in the shooting, Nicholas McWherter, opened fire on police as they arrived to a report of a disturbance at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store at 1533 Sloat Blvd.
At least one bullet hit police Officer Kevin Downs in the head, nearly hitting an artery that could have killed him. The injury prompted an emergency call to other police officers.
McWherter ran to Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove and encountered police again at 28th Avenue and Vicente Street, where he tried to run away again. In a wooded area, McWherter fired at officers and Chew and Dominguez returned fire, hitting McWherter four times, police said.
Despite officers’ commands to drop his gun, McWherter allegedly kept it to his chest as he lay on the ground. Police deployed flash-bang devices to distract him and take him into custody before he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he later died.
San Francisco police recently deployed body-worn cameras in response to numerous officer-involved shootings that led to the departure of police Chief Greg Suhr. But Chew and Dominguez, the two officers who shot McWherter, did not have their cameras.
Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Chew and Dominguez were not wearing their cameras because they had just finished their shifts and turned in their equipment when they responded to the shooting of Downs.
The two officers fired 21 rounds at McWherter and hit him four times.
Four investigations have been opened into the shooting. The San Francisco Police Department has opened both an administrative and criminal investigation and both the Office of Citizen Complaints and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office have opened investigations.
Downs is expected to survive. His family released information saying the bullet fractured his skull and missed a main artery by less than a centimeter. The fracture caused trauma to his brain, which has left him paralyzed in his right leg. On Sunday, police said part of one side of his body was paralyzed, but he has since regained some movement in his right arm.
Interim police chief Toney Chaplin identified McWherter as a mentally disturbed person and he said police want mental health specialists to be the first point of contact in similar situations.
“It’s a national issue,” he said.