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POSTED: 6:49 pm PST January 3, 2005
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — A machete-wielding man withstood approximately 15 rounds of non-lethal hits before members of a SWAT team fatally shot him in Redwood City on Sunday night, a police spokesman said today.
The man, who is believed to be from Newark, was killed by San Mateo County SWAT team members who fired multiple shots him at him as he allegedly charged them with the large knife, said Scott Warner, a patrol captain with Redwood City Police Department.
“We tried everything we could to end it peacefully,” Warner said.
Prior to the shooting, law enforcement officers had spent some eight hours trying to coax the man out of his nephew’s home located in the 1200 block of Valota Road, according to Warner.
Police responded to the home around noon, after receiving a report of a disturbance, Warner said.
When officers entered the home, the man retreated to closet inside of a bedroom and refused to come out.
Spanish-speaking hostage negotiators and the man’s mother tried unsuccessfully to get the man to surrender, Warner said.
Other than asking for some water or to speak to his mother, the man said very little all day, Warner said,
He charged at police multiple times prompting the officers, who were standing outside of a bedroom window, to shoot him with non-lethal weapons including a Sage gun, a Taser and pepper spray, Warner said.
The non-lethal weapons had little to no effect on the man.
Authorities shot and killed him around 8:15 p.m. as he allegedly charged the officers once again, Warner said.
The three SWAT team members who fired the fatal rounds and the two officers who fired the Sage gun and Taser have been placed on administrative leave, police said.
Warner said it is normal procedure for an officer who fires a weapon at a suspect on leave while officials evaluate if they are OK and if their actions were warranted.
“This was very frightening for our folks,” Warner said. “It was a very stressful day.”
Police and the district attorney’s office are also conducting a criminal investigation and interviewing everyone who was involved in the incident, Warner said.
Authorities have learned from family members that the man had been acting strangely for the past two weeks, Warner said.
Family members described his behavior as bizarre and “caveman” like. They told police he had been walking around with his head hung and that they had recently caught him eating grass in his backyard.
The man had reportedly been taking either an antidepressant or sleep medication but family members said he was not a drug user, police said.
Authorities are not releasing the name the victim’s family members gave them because it had not been confirmed.