Fresno Police say bizarre suspect behavior left officer with few options

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Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he's seen video from the officer's body camera and from a police camera at Fresno Street and Belmont Avenue. He said the officer told the suspect several times to drop the knife and when the suspect continued his threats, his gun was the only option. (KFSN)

Chaos reigned on the corner of Fresno Street and Belmont Avenue after the shooting Sunday afternoon.

The woman whose 911 call brought police to the scene didn't want to talk on camera, but she tells Action News the chaos was worse before police got there because of the man an officer eventually shot.

"He was threatening people in the street with the knife," the witness said. "And then the cops came pulling up and told him to put the knife down and they show him because he was just going crazy in the street, threatening people and you know, screaming and barking. He was crazy."

The officer walked right into the middle of it, trying to shield himself with his squad car as the suspect made his way through traffic on foot and got within a car length.

"His behavior was very bizarre, very aggressive. Challenging the officer, challenging people that were driving by," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. "He was barking initially."

The officer who shot the man did first aid afterwards as a crowd gathered to see what happened. A few of them started recording as an ambulance showed up to get the suspect to a hospital. Many in the crowd questioned why the officer didn't use a Taser instead of his gun.

Dyer said he's seen video from the officer's body camera and from a police camera at the intersection and said the officer told the suspect several times to drop the knife and by the time he shot, his gun was the only option.

"I don't believe based on what I saw in the video that the officer would've had the opportunity to use less lethal force and he was there by himself at that time," he explained.

The officer is a nine-year police veteran who is now on paid leave. Dyer said the suspect is a 25-year-old with a lengthy criminal history including a felony case for resisting arrest. He had surgery overnight and he'll live to face new charges.

"He is in stable condition at this time," Dyer said. "He has not interviewed with our detectives yet, but we anticipate that happening either today or tomorrow."

Police said they'll publicly identify him after that interview. Their investigation will include a drug test done at the hospital but the results and the investigation could take weeks to finish.

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newsfresno police departmentfresnojerry dyerofficer involved shootingFresno - Central
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