The camouflage-wearing man who was firing a rifle into the air before he was shot by San Diego police Saturday in North Park is a disabled veteran neighbors told NBC 7 San Diego.
Officers found the unidentified man standing near the intersection of Louisiana Street and University Avenue around 7:30 p.m. They found the suspect standing on the street, wearing camouflage clothing and holding a rifle.
Officers called out for the suspect to drop his weapon several times, but he did not comply. Instead, the man pointed his rifle in the direction of the officers investigators said.
One of the officers at the scene – a four-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department identfied as Officer Frank Bigler– drew his service weapon and shot the suspect in the torso.
The suspect was hospitalized, but was expected to survive his wounds.
A neighbor told NBC 7 San Diego the man is a disabled veteran who was known for helping others.
“We could hear him saying 'Call the cops, call the cops,' he wanted to die by cop. He was in a suicidal state, and I don't want this whole thing on the news and media to not show that he's a really good guy,” said Sabrina Moede.
Once the man was shot and on the ground, Moede heard the man telling officers that he had wanted the officers to shoot him in the head.
Moede said she has known the man for eight or nine months and heard the man tell stories of his time serving in Vietnam.
Charges are pending but it’s likely the man will be booked into custody officials said.