FONTANA – Police shot and killed a man they say rammed an officer’s vehicle with a stolen SUV on Saturday afternoon.
The man, Mohamad Shalabi, 41, was reportedly driving a black Nissan SUV west at the Marygold-Palmetto intersection when a police car, going south on Palmetto, tried to block the SUV, said Regina Mayorga, whose husband saw the incident.
“The cop tried to ram him to stop him,” Regina Mayorga said, adding that Shalabi didn’t get far before an officer shot at his vehicle.
The Mayorgas’ home is at a busy intersection with plenty of foot traffic, said police.
Police released few details about an incident that occurred shortly before 3 p.m. at the intersection of Marygold and Palmetto avenues. San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators have taken over the case, considered normal procedure in officer-involved shootings.
In a release that described the SUV as a stolen vehicle, police said the driver refused to yield and rammed the officer’s car. The officer, who has not been identified, fired to try to stop him.
The SUV then swerved into a yard on the southwest corner of the intersection and struck a house, in which Humberto Madrid was sleeping after working a graveyard shift.
Both the front and back windows of the SUV were shot out. Shalabi, who coroner’s reports said was from San Antonio, Texas, was pronounced dead on the scene at 3:07 p.m. There was no information on how many times the victim was struck by police gunfire, nor how many shots were fired.
Fontana police officers, alerted to Madrid’s presence inside the house, checked on his safety.
Fontana police Sgt. Billy Green said the large amount of foot traffic in the area and potential danger to the public likely weighed into the officer’s decision to shoot.
Green said he had no other information about the SUV or the driver.
There was damage to Madrid’s residence, including where the SUV hit a brick support column at the driveway’s entry plus an iron gate at the front of the property.