San Diego Police at the scene of the officer-involved shooting in Oak Park. Image via OnScene.TV

Police say a man being chased Friday in Oak Park grabbed an officer’s gun before the suspect — identified as 31-year-old Toby Diller of San Diego — was fatally shot.

On Monday, San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said Devion Johnson — a 2½-year veteran of the department — fired the fatal shot. A second officer in the incident was Benjamin Downing, a 5½-year veteran.

The shooting took place about 3:40 p.m. in the 2900 block of 54th Street after the officers tried to make an enforcement stop that turned into a pursuit on foot, Dobbs said.

Based on witness statements and a brief statement given by the officers involved, police say the man was uncooperative when the officers attempted to contact him.

“He ran from the officers and they chased him into the traffic lanes of 54th Street,” Dobbs said. The man then ran eastbound through bushes and onto the frontage road, at which time he began struggling with the officers.”

The officers gave him verbal commands to stop resisting, but he refused to cooperate, Dobbs said.

“One of the officers believed the man was grabbing his gun and alerted his partner, who eventually fired one round from his service weapon striking the man,” he said. “The man continued struggling but was eventually taken into custody.”

Dobbs said the officers provided medical aid until San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel arrived and pronounced him dead.

He said one witness described the subject as having something in his hand as the officers struggled with him.

“It was later discovered the man not only grabbed the officer’s gun, he was able to break the officer’s holster and firearm completely off of his duty belt and was struggling to control the gun,” Dobbs said.

Johnson and Downing are both assigned to Southeastern Division. The police Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an investigation to determine if there were any policy violations, and the Shooting Review Board will evaluate the tactics used by the officers, Dobbs said.

The Community Review Board on Police practices will conduct a review of the incident and provide any appropriate recommendations. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office also will monitor the investigation, Dobbs said.

Dobbs said anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619)
531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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