FRESNO – A Fresno police officer shot and killed a man wielding a knife in the Tower District on Monday afternoon.
Around 4:30 p.m., police received reports of a man who seemed to be disoriented or possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs waving a knife around while walking in and out of traffic. An officer on his motorcycle found the man near Maroa and Hedges avenues. At that point, the suspect began chasing another man, according to Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer.
“That person that was being chased was yelling, ‘Help me, help me.’ The suspect at that time was yelling at that individual that he was going to kill him while holding the knife,” Dyer said.
The police officer got off his motorcycle and, keeping some distance between himself and the suspect, repeatedly ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect then began walking toward the officer, still wielding his knife, Dyer said.
“The officer then retreated behind his motorcycle and continued to backpedal,” he said. “The suspect, armed with the knife, continued toward him.”
According to Dyer, a witness at the scene said that the suspect was holding the knife above his head, telling the officer to shoot him. Dyer said the knife was like a machete and approximately 8 or 9 inches long.
“The suspect refused to put the knife down when ordered to do so,” Dyer said. “It was at that time that the officer felt his life was in immediate danger, and fired one round from his department handgun, striking the subject, and the suspect fell directly behind the motorcycle while still clutching onto the bowie-type knife.”
The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. Police do not know if the suspect and the man he chased knew each other.
Dyer said that the police department is conducting an investigation into the matter and that they have at least two civilian witnesses who saw the incident. The officer involved, who has not been named, has been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation has been completed.