A public records request from NBC 7 coupled with a new transparency law has forced the San Diego Police Department to release investigative files and videos never before seen by the public. One of those files involves the death of a man brandishing a knife who charged officers in Nestor this spring.
The incident happened May 27, 2018. According to the investigative report, Border Patrol agents were flagged down at Tocayo Avenue and Hollister Street by citizens who pointed out a man with a knife acting erratically.
Border Patrol agents surrounded the man as San Diego police officers began arriving on scene. Officers ordered the man to drop the knife and lay on the ground, but he continued running back and forth, at one point telling officers “kill me,” according to the written report. The report also says the man was under the influence of narcotics.
Officers fired several bean bag rounds and tasers at the man, but they were ineffective. Several minutes into the confrontation the man is seen rushing toward a police officer, knife in hand.
The officer opened fire. You can see the man fall to the ground in several police body camera recordings.
“They did everything that they could to try to contain him,” said retired San Diego Police Lieutenant Ray Shay after reviewing the video. As the man moved closer to the officer, Shay said “There’s a point where for the safety of the officer you use lethal force as a last resort.”
Shay said it appeared officers followed the proper protocols. Officers established a perimeter to keep the knife-wielding man from hurting a bystander, which he said was necessary. He also commended them for first using bean bags and tasers to stop the man. The only other possibility he said was to deploy a police K-9 to force the man’s surrender.
“The officers ran out of options here. They did all they could in a very challenging situation,” said Shay.
The investigative report clears the officers of any wrongdoing, saying the officers’ actions were justified.
The man died of his injuries.