Sacramento (US), Jul 12: Two police officers fatally shot a knife-waving man during a confrontation on a street in Sacramento, California, authorities have said.
The shooting occurred after witnesses called police to report that a man was waving a knife over his head and was showing "very threatening, erratic behaviour," police spokesman Sgt Bryce Heinlein said yesterday.
One witness told police the man had a gun in his waistband, Heinlein said. Police said the man threw an object at a police vehicle and was seen reaching for his waistband as if he was trying to retrieve a weapon, the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement.
It also said the man later raised a knife over his head while charging one officer who locked himself in his patrol car to escape injury. Two more officers arrived and eventually shot the man when he turned toward them with the knife, Heinlein said. Officers later found a folding knife but no gun, he said.
"He was non-compliant throughout the whole ordeal," refusing repeated commands to drop the weapon, Heinlein said. "I'm not sure if he came at the officers ... but he turned toward the officers in a threatening manner and at that point the officers fired."
The man was shot on a sidewalk while the two officers were close to him, said Officer Matthew McPhail, another police spokesman.
"It sounds like a couple of paces. I don't have an exact foot measurement," McPhail said. The man was not immediately identified. Police described him as a black man in his 50s or 60s.
The shooting came amid high tensions nationwide over recent police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, and the slaying of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally last week.
There was no indication that the man in Sacramento was targeting police officers, Heinlein said. "It's more erratic behaviour," he said of the circumstances.
"At this point I don't know what his mental stability was." Witness Alton Ford told The Sacramento Bee that officers tried to calm the man without success. "He was cussing at them," Ford said.
"They gave him plenty of opportunity." The names of the veteran officers involved in the shooting were not immediately released. One has 25 years on the force, and the other has 22 years.
They were not wearing body cameras and apparently did not try to use less-lethal force before they opened fire, Heinlein said.