What started as a search for a man with a rifle walking down the street in east-central Fresno ended in an officer-involved shooting of a 19-year-old who may have wanted to end his life, the Fresno Police Department said Saturday.
The incident began with a 911 call at 3:20 p.m. Saturday that a man was walking on Clovis and Clinton avenues armed with a rifle, Deputy Chief Pat Farmer said. When officers went to the area to search for the man, one noticed a speeding pickup, Farmer said.
When officers attempted to pull over the truck near Shields and Fowler avenues, the driver continued on for more than a half-mile, eventually pulling over at a Chevron station at the corner of Shields and Armstrong avenues.
The subject, identified as a 19-year-old man whose vehicle was registered to a Clovis address, got out of the pickup, began to walk away and was hiding his hands in his waistband area, Farmer said. He turned around suddenly and put one of his hands behind his back.
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At one point the officers felt he was reaching for a weapon and that’s when the suspect was shot.
Deputy Chief Pat Farmer
“Officers continued to plead with the subject to show his hands,” Farmer said. “At that point the subject made a statement that he hated his life and made a movement to the small of his back, at which point he was shot several times by officers on the scene.”
Officers performed CPR before the man was taken to Community Regional Medical Center,where he died in surgery. The identification of the man is being withheld, pending notification of his family and confirmation by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office.
Both officers were equipped with body cameras and will be placed on administrative leave pending an official investigation, Farmer said. They were both veterans on the force, with 17 and 20 years of experience respectively, he said.
Officers still aren’t sure if the man was connected to the earlier 911 call regarding the rifle. Farmer said officers found no weapons, although they had only conducted a brief initial search of his vehicle. It is unknown if the man had been using drugs or alcohol, he said.
Numerous witnesses saw the shooting, Farmer said, including an off-duty officer, and all are cooperating with the investigation.
Farmer said the man’s state of mind was in question, and it’s possible that he wanted to end his life.
“For him to make the statement that he hated his life … we’ll need to look into that to find out if there was something else in his life going on that caused him to want to be shot,” the deputy chief said.
Eastbound Shields Avenue at Armstrong and the Chevron station will be closed for several hours, Farmer said, as officers conduct their investigation. Westbound Shields is open.
Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614