Authorities Thursday publicly identified a 48-year-old assault suspect who was fatally shot by a patrol officer in Southcrest while allegedly advancing on the lawman in a menacing manner, swinging a chain.
Vaughn Harrison Denham of San Diego died in a hospital about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, several hours after the law enforcement shooting in the area of Boston Avenue and South 40th Street in San Diego, according to police.
The events that led to the deadly gunfire began about 5:15 p.m., when several 911 callers reported that one man had attacked another with a machete or similar weapon in the inner-city neighborhood between Interstate 805 and state Route 15, said Lt. Matt Dobbs.
Officers arrived in the area to find a 57-year-old man who had sustained injuries consistent with an attack by a bladed weapon, Dobbs said. Medics took him to a trauma center for treatment of the wounds, which were not believed to be life threatening.
A short time later, an officer spotted a possible suspect in the assault around the corner from the site of the attack and contacted him. The man, later identified as Denham, allegedly was carrying a large metal chain, refused to follow the officer’s orders to drop it and began moving toward him.
Retreating, the patrolman tried in vain to subdue Denham with an electric stun gun, which had no discernible effect, according to Dobbs.
“The officer continued trying to maintain distance from the suspect, backing away for a considerable distance while continuing to give verbal commands,” the lieutenant said. “At one point, the suspect again swung the metal chain at the officer, prompting the officer to fire his weapon, wounding the suspect.”
Two other officers then hurried over and took Denham into custody following a struggle, after which medics rushed him to a hospital.
No officers suffered any significant injuries during the incident, the lieutenant said.
The name of the patrolman who fired on the suspect was not immediately released.
— City News Service
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