Officer Who Killed Knife-Wielding Man ID'd; Office Involved in Two Previous Fatal Shootings

The officer was also involved in a 2014 fatal shooting

The San Diego Police officer who killed a domestic violence suspect in Hillcrest Friday night has been identified as a 13-year veteran of the department who was involved in another fatal shooting, according to the SDPD.

Officer Richard Butera shot Joshua Adam Sisson, 30, to death in the 4200 block of 6th Avenue. A follow-up investigation by police revealed Sisson had an outstanding felony parole warrant for his arrest.

SDPD officers were called to the 500 block of Lewis Street about five minutes before the shooting to investigate a domestic violence incident involving a man who had allegedly held a knife to his boyfriend’s neck. By the time officers arrived at the scene, the suspect had fled.

Minutes later, a crew aboard the SDPD’s helicopter told officers on the ground they could see the possible domestic violence suspect making his way up a hill on 6th Avenue. Butera arrived in the area and spotted Sisson on the hill.

The SDPD said Butera ordered the suspect to stop. Sisson then allegedly turned toward the officer and pointed a large kitchen knife at the officer “in an aggressive stance,” the police department said.

Butera told the suspect to stop and drop the knife, but he refused to comply. Sisson then advanced toward the officer, knife in hand. Fearing for his safety, police said Butera fired his service gun at Sisson, the round striking him once in the chest.

The SDPD said Sisson was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital down the street. He died in the hospital early Saturday morning. Police said a kitchen knife was found at the scene of the shooting, next to the suspect. Butera was not harmed.

According to a previous SDPD release, Butera was involved in another shooting on Jan. 26, 2014. In that incident, SDPD officers pursued a driver who refused to pull over on I-15. Police said a male suspect was holding the female driver hostage in the car and was forcing her to flee from officers.

The suspect, police said, told dispatchers that he had a gun and an explosive device on him. After spike strips stopped the vehicle in Escondido, Butera shot the suspect to death. The woman in the car was rescued.

The San Diego District Attorney's office cleared Butera of wrongdoing in the 2014 shooting.

San Diego Police confirmed Butera was involved in a third fatal shooting in 2013. He fatally shot Giacomo James Cargnoni, 21, on June 1, 2013. It is unclear what happened during that incident. 

Video of Friday's incident was captured on a body camera worn by Butera, but the SDPD has declined to release the footage.

Investigators said Sisson was wanted for a parole violation and had a violent criminal history. No further details were immediately released.

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