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Escondido police: Man armed with metal pole shot, killed by officer

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Posted at 8:54 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 09:14:57-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Escondido that left a man dead Wednesday morning.

Escondido police said officers were called to the area of Broadway and 2nd Avenue just after 7 a.m. in response to reports of a man hitting cars with what was described as a metal pole.

An officer responded to the scene and made contact with the man while he was “armed with a 2-foot long metal pry tool," Escondido Police Chief Ed Varso said in a release.

"During that encounter, the male was not displaying any threatening behaviors and he was not posing a physical threat to police or the public," Varso added.

Varso went on to say that the officer told the man to drop the tool and tried to de-escalate the situation, but the man wouldn't comply and ran away. The officer stayed at the scene to take a report of the incident.

A second officer came into contact with the man minutes later at 2nd Ave. and Broadway, and Varso said "the male immediately advanced on the officer while holding the same metal tool in a threatening manner. The officer gave multiple commands to drop the tool as well as several use of force warnings."

Varso says it was at this point that the man continued to advance on the officer and he was shot. Police confirmed the man was taken to the hospital but later died from his injuries.

The man's name has not been released, but Varso said he is well-known to the department. He added that the department's psychiatric emergency response team has tried unsuccessfully "on numerous occasions" to place him into a mental health support system.

Varso says the officers involved did activate their body-worn cameras and the department would release portions of the video as soon as they could.

An investigative team is currently conducting witness interviews and going over physical evidence, according to Varso.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI will review the shooting. The incident will also undergo an internal review.