Escondido Police vehicles. File photo courtesy of the department

An Escondido Police Department officer fatally shot a vandalism suspect who allegedly advanced on him in a menacing manner Wednesday with a two-foot-long crowbar in his hands, authorities reported.

The shooting occurred shortly after 7 a.m., as the officer was investigating a report of a man hitting cars with the metal tool near the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue, according to the Escondido Police Department.

When the officer approached him, the suspect “immediately advanced on (him) while holding the same metal tool in a threatening manner,” EPD Chief Ed Varso said.

“The officer gave multiple commands to drop the tool, as well as several use-of-force warnings,” Varso said. “The (suspect) continued to advance on the officer, who was backing away, and he was ultimately shot.”

Paramedics took the suspect to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.

A man who identified himself as Laban Davis told News8 near the scene of the shooting that he had witnessed the deadly confrontation, calling it “crazy” and “unnecessary.”

“The guy wasn’t really no threat,” he said.

Davis, who said he counted five or six gunshots, said the suspect was holding the metal tool above his head but was “just walking” when he was shot.

“He wasn’t running (or) swinging it,” Davis told the station.

The involved officers had their uniform-worn cameras activated during the incident, according to Varso.

“As soon as possible we will be releasing portions of those videos to provide the public with a better understanding of what happened,” Varso said.

The suspect was “well known” to Escondido police, having had a long history of property crimes and violent offenses, including assaults on officers, according to Varso.

Updated at 7:42 p.m. April 21, 2021

–City News Service

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