SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A 32-year-old man shot dead by officers in a San Francisco police station parking lot Sunday after confronting them with a toy gun had asked police about their weapons earlier in the day, according to police.
Police say the man pulled an ‘Airsoft’ pellet gun on three police sergeants just outside the Mission District police at 17th and Valencia streets around 5:20 p.m. SundayREAD MORE: Apple Reports Holiday Quarter iPhone Sales Surge In Spite Of Supply Shortage
Police Chief Greg Suhr said it happened after a strange exchange between the suspect and other officers earlier in the day.
“This suspect apparently earlier today on 16th street approached other officers and inquired as to what kind of weapons we carry. Which the officers at the time found very curious, but nothing played out at that time.”
Later, the three police sergeants were leaving the Mission station when they saw the man in the restricted parking lot.
They told him to leave, but police said he stayed and blocked the driveway of the lot and when they approached him again, he went for his waistband and pulled a weapon.
Two of the sergeants fired, hitting him 3 times. He later died after undergoing surgery at San Francisco General Hospital.
“We don’t know his motive or why he challenged the officers or approached them in the first place,” police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. “It was very erratic behavior by the suspect, very unusual.”
Police said the pellet gun looked like the real thing, and there was no orange tip or anything to indicate that it was a toy,READ MORE: UPDATE: Elderly Victims Rescued From Fire At Pleasant Hill Senior Living Facility; 1 Injured
The sergeants will be put on standard administrative leave during the investigation. Police said a town hall meeting would be held later this week to discuss the incident.
SFPD sent out a news release Monday that said a search of the deceased’s phone revealed several suicide letters including one that read, “Dear Officer(s)”. Police Chief Greg Suhr spoke with the deceased’s father and the letter is being released with the father’s permission.
You did nothing wrong. You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself. I provoked you. I threatened your life as well as the lives of those around me. You were completely within your legal rights to do what you did. You followed protocols. You did everything right. I just want to find peace within myself. I am so sad and I am so lonely. There is no place for me here. Please, don’t blame yourself. I used you. I took advantage of you. I am so lost and I am so hopeless. God made a mistake with me. I shouldn’t be here. Please, take solace in knowing that the situation was out of your control. You had no other choice.”
A Townhall meeting will be held by Chief Suhr on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 6 p.m., at the Corner Stone Church 3459 17th Street, San Francisco, CA. 94110. Police will release details about the ongoing investigation at that time.
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