Delta police kill man with gun

Daniel Nelson and Carol Byers said a stranger fired three shots early Saturday near Grand Avenue and Sixth Street in Delta, and Nelson said he called 911. Minutes later, Nelson said, the man lay dead on a nearby sidewalk, shot by police officers after he fired at them. Nelson recorded the aftermath of the shooting on his camcorder.

Residents in a Delta neighborhood where police shot and killed a man early Saturday described the man as intoxicated and said he waved a semiautomatic handgun and fired several shots into the air.

The Delta Police Department has not released the name of the man who was shot by three Delta police officers, and it declined to provide the names of the officers.

None of the officers was hit during an ensuing exchange of fire with the man, and all three immediately were placed on administrative leave while an Officer Involved Shoot Team from the 7th Judicial District investigates the shooting, Delta police Sgt. Charlie Kettle said Saturday afternoon.

Kettle said the officers arrived in the 600 block of Grand Avenue at 1:14 a.m. Saturday and approached a man carrying a handgun. Kettle said the man turned and started firing, and officers returned fire, but he did not say how many shots were fired.

Kettle said he could not release more information while the investigation is ongoing, but area neighbors said the man appeared to be highly intoxicated and was muttering to himself.

“I heard him say, ‘I’m an American, I can have a gun, and nobody’s going to stop me,’ ” said neighbor Tony Munoz, adding he watched the man from his second-floor bedroom window and saw the man shoot a gun into the air. “They did it right. He shot at them first.”

Other witnesses described the man as clean-shaven and 45 to 50 years old. They said he was a medium-built man who was wearing dark jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a fedora.

None of the neighbors said they recognized him as living in the area.

Other neighbors, however, identified a woman who showed up at the scene hours later as the man’s sister. She arrived on foot with another man who would only identify himself as the suspect’s brother-in-law.

He declined to be interviewed other than to say, “The cops just shot him.”

Daniel Nelson, who lives on Grand Avenue right where police shot the man, said he won’t soon forget the incident.

“Here’s the sidewalk, here’s the edge of the fence, and I’m standing right at it,” Nelson said. “He walks right past me just mumbling to himself and swinging a semiautomatic pistol while he’s walking. I watched him until he got to the corner of Sixth and Grand, and he headed south. That’s when I went inside and called 911.”

Nelson said he was shocked that the man seemed not to notice him as he passed by.

Nelson and Carol Byers said the man fired two shots near a shed behind the home they share, and that he fired another shot just before police arrived, which only took a few minutes. Nelson said he called police about 1:10 a.m. Minutes later, the man was dead on the sidewalk near the front of their yellow-brick house.

Nelson and other neighbors said they watched as one of the officers approached the man and then fired four or five shots into him after the man turned and shot at one of the officers.

He said he clearly heard two different-caliber guns discharging in the darkness.

“I believe he just shot in the air. They found the shell casing over there in the alley,” Nelson said. “His speech was very slurred. He made it about halfway down the block, and that’s when they got him. They were here pretty quickly.”

Nelson and Byers said police arrived at both ends of the block and, with the aid of searchlights, worked their way toward the middle.

“They came down Sixth sweeping back and forth with their searchlight, and then Carol was outside, and she said, ” ‘He’s right there!’ ” Nelson said. “A couple seconds after that, that’s when the first shot rang out.”

“And I hauled ass back into the house,” Byers quickly added.


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