Police say officers knew him and knew he had PTSD.
After watching video from body-worn and dash-mounted cameras, Madera Police chief Dino Lawson says his officers did nothing wrong.
"The only reason that it came to the point where the officers had to fire was because they had nowhere else to go when this individual was going to inflict deadly force with the butcher knife," Lawson said. "If it was something that was PTSD-related, I wish he would have actively sought treatment."
The commander on scene attempted to retrieve a beanbag shotgun, but the situation escalated quickly and the officers were backed into their patrol car, according to Lawson.
Neighbors said they're in shock.
"He wasn't a dangerous guy, he probably just had an episode," said Joshua Gonzalez, a neighbor. "He always wanted a community that knew each other. I'm pretty sure without him nobody would know each other here in this neighborhood."
Gonzalez is hosting a memorial for Novak.
An investigation is underway after a man wielding a knife was shot and killed by officers.
Around 10:15 p.m. Thursday, police received a call about a man driving the wrong way on Gateway Drive.
The caller followed him as he got onto Highway 99 and continued to follow him when he exited at Cleveland Avenue.
That's where the driver crashed into a black vehicle.
A father and his children were inside.
They were not hurt.
Police responded and when they approached the driver, he started waving a large knife at officers from inside the vehicle.
"He had all the windows up in the car, he brandished a knife and started tapping and hitting the windows with the knife, and then started cutting on himself and the officers say hey...'he's in the car, he's cutting on himself, back up'... so they backed up," said Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson.
Despite police orders, he refused to drop it.
He got out and continued waving the knife as he charged at them.
Officers took several steps back until the suspect was within several feet.
That's when police fired several rounds, killing the man.
The Madera Police Chief says the incident involved three officers and a sergeant.
At this point, it is unclear if drugs or alcohol were a factor.
The Madera District Attorney's Office and the Madera County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting.