The Porterville Police Department has identified the suspect shot by officers as 18-year-old Carmen Buttram of Bakersfield. Buttram is listed in stable condition at a Porterville trauma center.
On July 8, 2017, at approximately 8:00 P.M., Porterville Police Department received a call from an employee of the 99 Cent Store regarding a female subject acting erratically, breaking items in the store, and armed with a knife.
The initial officer arrived on scene and encountered the suspect amidst several customers and employees.
The officer ordered her to drop the knife and also gave directions to bystanders to clear the area. Despite repeated orders from the officer to drop the knife, the suspect refused to drop the knife, continued yelling profanities, and then began advancing toward a customer who had remained in the area.
The officer continued ordering the suspect to stop; however, she refused and told the officer that he, “would have to shoot her.” Fearing for the life of the customer, the officer fired two shots from his department-issued firearm, striking the suspect with both shots. It was at this time that the suspect went to the ground and dropped the knife.
Additional officers arrived on scene and began rendering medical aid to the suspect until medical personnel arrived at the scene. The suspect was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center for treatment.
As part of protocol for this type of incident, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office was requested to respond and is conducting the criminal investigation into this occurrence.
The Porterville Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation to ensure adherence to department policy and procedure. In accordance with department policy, the officer was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation(s).