BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the actions of eight police officers who fired over 20 rounds and killed a man who had fired a shot at them in Redwood City.
The man killed Saturday, whose name is not yet being released by the San Mateo County coroner, was a Latino in his 30s, who may have been a transient, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
It’s not known whether bullets from all eight of the officers, seven Redwood City cops and one San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy, hit the man, said Wagstaffe. The man had fired “at least” one shot at officers before they opened fire, the DA said.
The incident began on Saturday at 2:25 p.m., when a woman called 911 and reported that a man was holding a black handgun and pacing back and forth in front of the ATMs at the Wells Fargo Bank at 1900 Broadway, according to a statement from Redwood City police.
Upon arriving, officers recognized the man from prior encounters and attempted to engage him in a conversation to de-escalate the situation.
“The male was not responsive to the officers’ attempts to engage him in a peaceful surrender,” the statement said. “Officers tried speaking with the male in both English and Spanish for several minutes, but the suspect continued to move back and forth with his finger on the trigger of the gun and did not respond to the officers’ continued requests to disarm himself.”
Additional officers arrived and began pulling out what police said were “less lethal weapons.”
Man said to have fired at officers
“However, before those resources could be utilized, the suspect, without warning, took a combative stance, raised his gun, and fired an unspecified number of shots in the direction of the officers. Officers immediately responded with lethal force and the male was incapacitated,” the police statement said.
Police administered first aid and CPR until an ambulance could arrive. But medical personnel from the Fire Department and AMR ambulance pronounced the man dead.
Redwood City Police currently don’t have body cameras. The department is awaiting approval on the proposed budget by City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz, said Acting Chief Gary Kirby.
But there was video from a dashboard-mounted camera in the car of a sheriff’s deputy who responded to the call, said Kirby.
Two witnesses captured at least a part of the interaction between police and the man on their phones, Wagstaffe said.
In a routine move, all of the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by Wagstaffe’s office. The investigation is expected to take eight to 10 weeks.
Kirby said yesterday he still needs to decide when he will release the officers’ names.
Last fatal shooting
The last time a Redwood City police officer was involved in a fatal shooting was on March 12, 2017 in a business park in the 200 block of Penobscot Drive. Detective Joseph O’Gorman fired at Robert Lee Eichen, a domestic violence suspect who had fired a shot into the air before he was confronted by police.
Eichen, 43, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.43%, five times the legal limit for driving. An investigation by the District Attorney was not able to determine whether Eichen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or whether he died from the round fired by O’Gorman. DA Steve Wagstaffe praised O’Gorman for his “calm and steady demeanor, and professionalism under such stressful circumstances.”