Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Monday that he had reviewed the Sunday shooting by one of his officers of a man armed with a knife from at least two camera angles, and it appeared the officer acted in a “very restrained, very professional manner” consistent with department training when he fired his service weapon twice, wounding the man.
“Based on what the video shows, although the investigation is not complete, the officer chose, based on what he thought was a reasonable threat, to use his firearm,” the chief said. Neither the officer nor the man who was shot was immediately named.
The 25-year-old man, hit twice in the abdomen, was in stable condition at Community Regional Medical Center. The shooting took place about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Belmont and Fresno streets, after the officer, who was in a patrol car by himself, responded to a call of a man threatening people in traffic with a knife.
Police on Tuesday identified the man as Ryan Henry Frank, and said he was a Bulldog gang member. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.
Dyer said that he had reviewed the body camera worn by the 9 1/2- year department veteran, as well as video captured by a nearby police camera that is part of the department’s Real Time Crime Center.
The chief said that Henry, who was dressed in red shorts and shirt, was barking and shouting “Bulldog” as he stood in traffic. The chief said he threatened several people with the knife, including a man whose wife called police. The chief said Henry had “an extensive criminal history,” which included weapons charges, charges of resisting officers and numerous probation violations.” Police are trying to determine whether the man’s “bizarre behavior” was the result of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Toxicology tests usually take several weeks to complete.
Sunday, at a news conference called at the shooting scene, Dyer said that for about 40 seconds, the officer gave Henry around 15 to 20 commands to drop the knife. The man continued to approach cars in the area and was about a car-length away from the officer when he fired twice, hitting the man in the abdomen. The chief elaborated on those comments Monday. He said the officer was standing in front of a vehicle when Henry came at him “very quickly” with the knife when the officer fired two rounds, both of which hit the man, who fell to the ground. The chief said at the time of the shooting Henry was also a threat to people in two cars stopped at a red light.
The chief said the “situation evolved so quickly” that “I don’t believe, based on what I saw in the videos, that the officer would have had the opportunity to use less lethal” force.
Fresno police options for so-called “less lethal” force are department-issued Tasers and shotguns armed with beanbag-type rounds. The chief said officers using either are usually backed up by a second officer in case the devices are ineffective. In the Sunday incident, the officer was alone. The chief also noted that an officer armed with a Taser “only gets one chance” against a lethal weapon at such close range.
This is the eighth shooting involving a Fresno police officer this year, Dyer said. As part of department policy, the officer was placed on paid administrative leave.
Staff writer Ashleigh Panoo contributed.