BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It appears a man shot by two officers this week did not have a gun, according to new information released by Bakersfield police Thursday.
On Monday, a man attempted to steal a piece of heavy equipment from a road construction site in the 2000 block of Truxtun Ave by driving off in it. The piece of equipment was described as a skip loader. A witness told BPD that the suspect was having difficulty operating the machine and abandoned it after driving it on the roadway. The suspect then got into an older Nissan pick-up truck and circled the area several times.
Officers confronted the suspect while he was sitting in his truck in the eastbound lane of Truxton Ave. That's when an officer-involved shooting occurred and the suspect was struck at least one time. The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in critical, but stable condition.
According to a statement from the BPD, two officers responding to the call were stopped in traffic in the westbound lane of Truxtun when they saw the suspect's vehicle stopped in the eastbound lane parallel to them. The two officers then exited their vehicle.
The statement went on to say that based on "radio traffic and body camera audio" the officers believed the suspect to be armed.
At some point, the officers fired at the suspect and he was struck. Officers removed the suspect from the vehicle and rendered first aid until he was transported to the hospital. He is expected to survive from his wounds.
Several witnesses said they saw the suspect point what they thought was a gun at the officers.
An investigation of the vehicle did not produce a gun, however, investigators found a flashlight that "appears consistent in size and shale to what has been described."
The statement added, "This is still an on-going investigation. Conclusions regarding the officers' actions will not be made until all of the facts are known and the investigation is completed."