Knife-wielding man identified in deadly Merced courthouse shooting

April 28, 2008 7:53:16 PM PDT
During a news conference Monday night, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin revealed the identity of the man who barged into the Merced Superior Court armed with two knives and was shot and killed by deputies. The suspect is 40-year-old Robert Eaton.

Sheriff Mark Pazin says Eaton ran through the security line at the main entrance of the courthouse and then headed towards Courtroom Two. Inside the packed courtroom, investigators say Eaton charged at the judge armed with a butcher knife and a filet knife.

Deputies stepped in and prevented him from reaching the judge. Sheriff Pazin says deputies opened fire on Eaton when he repeatedly ignored orders to drop the knives. The incident remains under investigation.

The sheriff's department says Eaton has a long history of mental illness and criminal activity. Back in April 2007, Eaton was arrested for ramming his car into the front of the same Merced County courthouse. He told investigators back then that he was angry because he had been refused mental health services.


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