Officers in Stockton, California, fatally shot an armed man Wednesday night as he charged toward them in the parking lot of a police department building, the local police chief said.
The shirtless man “was armed with a handgun and was continually firing the gun — walking — it appears mostly up in the air but also could have fired toward some of the vehicles and other things in this front lot,” Police Chief Eric Jones said Wednesday at a news conference.
The unidentified suspect was located in the parking lot and began walking toward a police memorial when six officers confronted him, the department said in an update Thursday.
“The suspect was screaming and armed with a firearm,” the statement said. “The officers told the suspect to get on the ground and drop the gun. The suspect got on his stomach but refused to drop the gun. The suspect continued to scream, stood back up with the gun pointing in the officers’ direction, and began to run towards the officers. Five officers fired their service weapons, shooting the man.”
The incident comes as police use of force remains under scrutiny nationwide. The Stockton officers’ actions are under investigation by agencies including the state Department of Justice and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office, the chief said.
CNN has reached out to those agencies and to the police department. Five officers are on paid administrative leave.
‘I have not seen anything like this,’ chief says
Police have not released the slain man’s identity. He had parked his car near the police station around 8:30 p.m. local time.
“It’s too early to determine motive; we don’t exactly know that. That will certainly be part of the investigation: find out if there was anything left behind as to what he may have been motivated about. So, it’s too early to say,” Jones said.
“All officers are OK,” the department posted on its Facebook page.
Jones was somber as he reflected on the day’s events.
“I have not seen anything like this. I’ve been here nearly 30 years with Stockton PD, nearly 10 years as police chief, and for somebody to come right into the police department like this and fire the weapon and charge right at the officers with the weapon is very unique,” he said.
“But I will say, unfortunately, we are seeing more cases like this, not just in our area – whether it be ambushes or assaults on police officers or the buildings, the operations buildings – we’ve been seeing an increase of this nationally. It’s extremely concerning, and it just shows the dangers of being a police officer,” Jones said.
Just hours earlier, the department held a plaque dedication ceremony for Officer Jimmy Inn, who was fatally shot in May while responding to a domestic violence call.
In a statement, Chuck Harris, president of the Stockton Police Officers Association, said: “Violent actions such as this are happening to police officers across our nation on a daily basis, and they have to stop. We are thankful that none of our officers were injured or killed during this incident. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for other officers around our country.”
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