CA Police Shoot Man With Knife; Officer Stabbed
San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix
January 05, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco police shot a knife-wielding man in a wheelchair Tuesday after he allegedly stabbed a police officer in the shoulder and slashed car tires.
A witness used his cell phone to capture the shooting on video, which shows four officers surrounding the suspect in his wheelchair. In the video, one of the officers shoots the suspect using a beanbag gun, and the suspect appears to throw the knife aside. A split second later the suspect is shot in the groin with a handgun.
Both the suspect and the wounded officer, neither of whom were named by police, were in stable condition Tuesday night at San Francisco General Hospital and their injuries are not life-threatening, police said.
“I want to make sure we put the video in context,” Police Chief George Gascón said at a news conference after releasing the video. "We have an individual acting violently. He had a knife. One of the officers has been stabbed.
“He appears to toss the knife” in the video, Gascón said, but officers are “reacting to the motion. What the officers are seeing and what is actually happening may be different.”
The 10:15 a.m. shooting at 10th and Howard streets began when officers were summoned to the San Francisco Department of Public Health building at 1380 Howard St., where a man apparently had been slashing tires on parked cars, witnesses say.
Police first used pepper spray to subdue the suspect, who at one point got out of his chair and walked around, Gascón said. While trying to control the suspect, one of the plainclothes officers who initially responded to the call was stabbed, police said. It was several minutes later before more police arrived at the scene.
Richard Sarraille, an employee at the Department of Public Health, said he saw the man in his wheelchair earlier in the morning in what he described as “a highly agitated state.” Sarraille said the bearded man, a Caucasian in his late 40s, was a regular visitor known to cause trouble at the building, which provides services for the mentally ill.