The man fatally shot by police Thursday morning was armed with a pellet gun modeled after a 9 mm handgun and a knife, Sacramento police said in a press release.
The man – identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office late Thursday as Darell Richards, 19 – was shot by two SWAT officers after he refused to drop the gun and then pointed it at officers, the department said.
Dispatch received a call at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday reporting a person armed with a firearm and wearing a mask in the area of 16th Street and Broadway, according to police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler.
Officers responded and found a suspect matching that description at 20th Street and Broadway, and the man ran away as officers tried to make contact, Chandler said. Police did not chase on foot but maintained visual from patrol cars, he said.
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The man was wearing a black hoodie, gray pants and carrying a black backpack, according to radio communications accessed through Broadcastify, an online archive of police radio activity.
He ditched his backpack while fleeing police on Broadway.
The suspect, who was identified by the coroner as African American, ran into a residential area south of 20th and Broadway and attempted to jump a fence; it was then that an officer standing outside his patrol car saw the man holding the gun in his hand, according to the release.
Officers established a perimeter and called the SWAT team in, Chandler said. The SWAT team searched the area using a K-9 and at 3:12 a.m. Thursday found the suspect hiding under a stairwell in a backyard of an occupied house.
“At the time, he posed an immediate threat to officers, and two SWAT officers fired on the suspect,” Chandler said.
Officers performed CPR until fire personnel arrived and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Officers recovered the gun and discovered it was actually a pellet gun that looked very similar to a Sig Sauer P225 9 mm handgun, according to the release. They also found a knife at the scene.
The two officers involved in the shooting are 11- and 17-year veterans with the department; neither were injured.
Homicide detectives, Internal Affairs and Crime Scene Investigation units responded to the scene Thursday morning, which remained closed throughout the day.
A large police presence remained along 21st Street near Broadway, closing 21st Street, Larkin Way and most of Burnett Way.
Linda Perrault, who lives on nearby Burnett Way, said she received a message on her voicemail from Sacramento police Thursday morning advising residents to stay in place as officers searched for an armed suspect. She said she locked her doors and “hibernated.”
Tim Foster, the executive director of publisher Open California, tweeted video of police activity around midnight, saying “Cops were suddenly EVERYWHERE.”
Foster on Twitter described a “full SWAT team” entering his neighbor’s yard, then tweeted “SHOTS FIRED IN MY BACKYARD!”
At 3:40 a.m., Foster wrote, “Pretty sure someone just died in my backyard.”
Foster declined a request for comment by The Bee.
Police have not yet determined whether the masked man committed crimes other than brandishing a firearm before fleeing, Chandler said.
According to the Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers, Richards was previously arrested July 9 by Sacramento police in connection with a May 26 incident in which he allegedly punched a victim repeatedly before hitting the victim’s head with a heavy wooden club.
Thursday morning marks at least the third confirmed officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of a suspect in Sacramento County so far this year. In addition to the high-profile death of Stephon Clark, a shooting during a confrontation at an Elk Grove hotel killed a 26-year-old man in late April.
There were 15 other people in the region killed in officer-involved shootings between the start of 2016 and the death of Stephon Clark this March.