Man Shot, Killed By Escondido Police

In a YouTube video posted by the department Wednesday night, Escondido Police Chief Ed Varso gave the department's account of what led to the deadly shooting

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A man was shot and killed Wednesday morning by an Escondido police officer who was responding to a call of a man hitting cars with a metal pole, authorities said.

According to an incident report released by the Escondido Police Department hours after the shooting, an officer arrived at the scene of Broadway and 2nd Avenue shortly after 7 a.m. and approached the man who was carrying a "large metal object."

In a YouTube video posted by the department Wednesday night, EPD Chief Ed Varso said the object was a 2-foot metal pry tool similar to those used in the auto repair industry.

Police shot and killed a man in Escondido while responding to a call about someone hitting cars with "a metal pole."

When the officer first made contact with the man behind a business in the area, the man was not displaying any threatening behavior and he did not pose a threat to the officer or the public, Chief Varso said in the video.

Varso said the officer tried to convince the man to drop the metal object, but the man didn't comply and ran away.

The officer stayed at the scene and spoke to witnesses about the incident that prompted the police call. A few minutes later, a second EPD officer saw the man walking in the street at 2nd Avenue and Broadway, according to Varso.

"This time, as the officer exited his vehicle, the male immediately advanced on the officer while holding the same metal tool in a threatening manner," Varso said.

"The officer gave multiple commands to drop the tool, as well as several use of force warnings. The male continued to advance on the officer who was backing away, and he was ultimately shot."

In the video, Varso did not mention how many shots were fired.

More officers and Escondido Fire Department firefighters arrived and gave first aid to the man. He was taken to an area hospital where he died from his injuries, Varso said. He will not be identified until his family can be notified.

EPD described the man only as a white male adult. Varso said he was "well known to Escondido Police Department," and that he had been booked in county jail 188 times since 2002 on allegations including assaults on police, drug charges and property crimes.

"Additionally, our psychiatric emergency response team has attempted on numerous occasions to place him in mental health support systems without success. In fact, just this year, we've already responded to over 20 calls for service involving this individual," Varso said in the video.

Varso said the officers involved in the incident activated their body cameras, and the footage will be released as soon as possible "to provide the public a better understanding of what happened."

The officer who shot the man has not been identified. He was placed on administrative leave, the department said.

SkyRanger 7 flew over the scene on April 21, 2021.

An investigation into the incident was underway, and it will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney's office, U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI.

A man who claimed to have witnessed the shooting said the man shot by police wasn't a threat.

"It was unnecessary because the guy wasn't really a threat. It's another police shooting that doesn't even make sense," LaBan Davis said, adding the man's weapon was no match for an armed police officer. "He didn't run or he didn't swing the thing, he just walked and followed the cop and the cop ended up shooting."

A 5 p.m. protest was planned outside of police headquarters. The department set up barricades around the property and installed plywood over some of its windows. About a dozen apparent protesters showed up, and no incidents were reported.

The Escondido Police Department was most recently involved in another shooting by a police officer in their department in late July 2020. In that incident, an officer shot a man accused of charging at him with a crowbar. Police were called by the son of the man's ex-wife, who had recently filed a restraining order against him. The man survived and was sentenced last week to four years in prison.

The last fatal shooting by an Escondido police officer was in 2018 when officers responding to a domestic violence call led to a chase that ended in a confrontation with the armed suspect.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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