According to the latest independent audit of the Fresno Police Department, several officer-involved shootings dating back to last year were conducted in accordance with department policy.
Police Auditor John Gliatta submitted his report for the second quarter of 2021 on Monday.
Per the report, Gliatta covered five officer-involved shootings investigations that he completed in the last three months. One of them was assigned last September, three were assigned last October and the final one was assigned in April.
Gliatta is also currently conducting three additional investigations into officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths.
Here’s a look at the Gliatta’s findings in the five investigations:
On Sept. 19, 2020, officers were dispatched to a business on E. Belmont Ave. in response to a 911 call that said a man pulled a gun on another man. The caller said the suspect “seemed agitated and possibly homeless.”
The first officer to arrive on the scene noticed what appeared to be a handgun in the suspect’s waistband. Later, it turned out to be a BB gun.
Officers gave orders such as “get on the ground,” “get your hands in the air” or “don’t reach for the gun” at least 11 times in a 45 second period.
The suspect did not comply with the officers and instead reached for the BB gun. In response, one of the officers shot the suspect, hitting him in the left hand. The suspect was put under arrest and taken to Community Regional Medical Center.
Because the BB gun looked like a real gun, Gliatta found that the use of deadly force was the proper option.
On Oct. 2, 2020, a man called 911 four times. During the third call, he said that there had been a home invasion robbery, but he quickly said that he was mistaken. In the final call, the suspect said that there were several men at his location holding a relative against his will.
Officers were dispatched to the location, and the suspect approached the officers with a knife. A relative then attempted to tackle the suspect because he believed the suspect was going to attack the officers. The suspect stabbed the relative in the chest, who then returned into the residence.
The suspect approached the officers with the knife again, and in response one of the officers fired several rounds from a less-lethal shotgun, although the rounds were ineffective. That resulted in a chase where officers attempted to subdue the suspect with additional less-lethal rounds and a Taser.
The suspect ran back to the house but was met with another officer who recently arrived on the scene. The suspect ran towards the officer with a knife, and the officer fatally shot him when he was about 10 feet away and still advancing.
Gliatta interviewed family members of the suspect who supported the actions of the officers.
“All the officers were trying to subdue him as non-lethal as possible, but he wouldn’t go down,” one family member said.
Gliatta determined that the use of deadly force was the only remaining option since officers tried multiple times to subdue the suspect who stabbed a family member and posed a clear danger to the officers.
A suicidal male called 911 on Oct. 17, 2020, and told the dispatcher that he wanted to kill himself and others. He said he was armed with a knife and had just stabbed and killed his mother.
“The subject added he wanted the FPD to send officers so they ‘could shoot him because he was trying to stab himself, but the knife was not working,’” the report reads.
Officers arrived on the scene and utilized variou resources to avoid an officer-involved shooting, including using mental health clinicians, less-lethal shotguns, crisis negotiators and addressing the man for nearly an hour via the public address systems of their patrol cars.
The man exited the house while continuing to hold the knife and calmly walked toward the officers and mental health clinicians. Officers told the man to stop and attempted to use less-lethal rounds, but the man continued to approach the officers with the knife.
Four officers fired their guns at the man. They secured the man and began life saving measures until emergency medical services arrived. The man was taken to the hospital to be treated for his non-fatal wounds.
Officers entered the residence and found his mother had died from knife wounds.
Gliatta determined the officers’ use of deadly force was permitted because of the threat the suspect posed.
On Oct. 18, 2020, officers responded to an attempted robbery call and subsequently received a call regarding suspicious activity of someone jumping into backyards and on rooftops in a neighborhood, which was believed to be related to the first call.
Before officers arrived, an elerdly resident confronted the suspect with a .22 caliber rifle, but the suspect fled. The resident left the rifle on a table outside and went inside to call 911.
Another resident confronted the suspect and attempted to detain him when officers arrived, but the suspect fled again and returned to the first backyard and took the rifle.
The suspect continued to hop fences and fired one round at a family standing in the street. Officers commanded the suspect to drop the gun, but in response the suspect aimed the gun at the officers.
After evading shots from the officers, the suspect continued down the street and attempted to break into an empty patrol car. After leaving the car, an officer shot the suspect one time in the leg, but the suspect continued on and sat down in a driveway between the garage door and a parked truck while pointing the rifle at officers.
He continued on through the neighborhood and was ordered numerous times to drop the firearm. After refusing, officers shot several more rounds at him which dropped him to the ground.
The suspect was transported to Community Regional Medical Center and was later pronounced deceased.
In total, the incident involved over 30 Fresno Police Officers, a UAV, a Fresno County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and lasted nearly one hour.
Gliatta found that the officers acted within policy in their attempts to deal with the armed suspect.
On April 10, 2021, two officers responded to a location for a woman who was possibly being held against her will. The man holding her was listed as a wanted subject on the Daily Crime Bulletin for domestic violence, in addition to four other felony warrants and one misdemeanor warrant.
Officers requested a K-9 officer given the suspect’s previous crimes. The K-9 officer went to the backyard and saw the suspect jump the fence. The K-9 officer commanded his dog, Argo, to pursue the suspect.
The suspect found a box cutter and began striking Argo while another dog was biting Argo.
In response, the K-9 officer shot the other dog to stop the attack and took the suspect into custody with assistance from another officer. Argo was transported to an emergency veterinarian where he was treated for puncture and stab wounds.
Gliatta determined that the K-9 officer followed policy when using deadly force against the other dog because officers are authorized to use firearms to stop an animal in circumstances where the animal appears to pose a threat to human safety.