A man who pointed a gun at Madera police wanted to die of suicide by cop, Madera police chief Steve Frazier said Tuesday.
But the man did not succeed, though a police officer shot him in the shoulder. The man was identified as Saul Santana, 39.
The incident started about 4:45 p.m. Monday when police got a call that a man driving a white pickup was holding a knife to his own neck, and got a report he was brandishing a handgun.
Officers on patrol found the truck and started following it, which was driving about 15 mph.
They followed it for about seven minutes to the area of C Street and 14th Street when the man, who by then had slowed to 5 mph, stopped the truck, got out and pointed a gun at officers, Frazier said.
I honestly think his intent was for us to end his life.
Madera Police Chief Steve Frazier
An officer fired five rounds, hitting Santana once in the left shoulder.
“I honestly think his intent was for us to end his life,” Frazier said.
When police went to handcuff him, they found he had a self-inflicted knife wound to his neck and was covered in blood.
“The neck wound was significantly worse than the handgun wound to the shoulder,” Frazier said.
Santana was taken to Community Regional Medical Center and had a bullet removed but is expected to make a full recovery, Frazier said.
It’s unclear where Santana lived, but he had a carjacking conviction in 2002 in Butte and was sentenced to eight years in prison, Frazier said. Santana also had miscellaneous drug charges.
A blood sample will be tested for illegal drugs and alcohol.
The name of the officer who opened fire was not made public.
Anyone who knows Santana’s most recent whereabouts and what he was doing before the incident is asked to call police at 559-675-4200.