A California man armed with a knife was fatally shot by police following a violent altercation that occurred during a traffic stop.
According to Orange police, officers pulled over a 30-year-old man driving a white van at 12:30 a.m. Monday. The man stopped the van in the parking lot of a shopping center where the routine traffic stop escalated when he showed a gas can inside the van and lit a cigarette.
Operating under the concern that the suspect might set himself on fire, or that there could be more combustibles in the van, one officer covertly made his way to the passenger side, broke the window, and sprayed the man with a fire hose. However, instead of getting out, the suspect then moved into the back of the van.
The man eventually emerged out of the driver’s-side door and an altercation ensued. Witnesses yelled “knife,” and two shots were fired, wounding the suspect. Officials later confirmed that the man was wielding a knife when the shooting occurred, and that two knives were recovered at the scene.
The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died. Orange police reported that no officers were injured during the incident.
“I’ve been here for 22 years. I don’t know that I’ve ever even heard of a plan like this. I think it was an excellent idea to use the water to prevent him from lighting himself on fire,” said Lt. Fred Lopez of the Orange police department.
Police have not revealed why the suspect was pulled over, but when they ran the plates on the van, they found an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The suspect was not formally identified by police, but area residents and business owners were familiar with him.
“He was always paranoid that he was, you know, that people were after him or people spying on him or people following him,” said Leo Felling, owner of a nearby gas station.
KTLA5 News reported that the man’s sister came forward, identifying him as Michael Anthony Perez, 33, a father of six, which was later confirmed by police.
The shooting was caught on video, and police are conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO, DISTURBING FOOTAGE
H/T: ABC 7
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