Fresno Police investigators spent hours taking pictures and collecting evidence from the scene Monday evening.
Chief Jerry Dyer says the dispatch center became flooded with calls around 4:30PM after several drivers reported seeing the suspect near Fresno City College.
"The individual is described as walking in and out of traffic and was flashing the machete at motorist who were passing by." said Dyer.
A motorcycle police officer responded to the calls and found the suspect at an intersection of Maroa and Hedges a short time later.
Witnesses say the man with the knife was already in the middle of attacking another person before the officer approached the suspect.
"Before I knew it, there was a cop yelling get down. Get down. And the guy was charging the officer with a knife." said Lindsay Greenley.
Dyer says the suspect ignored the officer's repeated commands to put the large knife down.
"In fact at one point as described by a witness, a citizen witness the suspect was holding the bowie knife above his head, telling the officer to shoot him." said Dyer.
Chief Dyer says the officer feared for his life. He fired off one round, striking the suspect in the torso. Another witness says the man held on to his knife despite getting shot.
"And he rolled around on the ground and yelled for a minute. And we walked over, most of the people ran because there's gun shots and he didn't get back up." said Casey Hall.
The suspect died at the scene.
Police interviewed several witnesses in the neighborhood. They also talked to a shirtless man at length Monday, but did not say whether he was a friend of the suspect or the person he was attacking. Officers placed him in the back of a squad car and took him away from the scene.
Chief Dyer says there is no indication that either the man with the knife or his intended victim knew each other prior to Monday's attack.
The officer who shot the suspect is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.