San Diego Police cruiser.
San Diego Police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

Authorities Thursday released the name of a San Diego Police Department officer who fatally shot a domestic assault suspect last week in the Fairmount Park area.

Mitchel Tani, a nine-year member of the SDPD, opened fire on 48-year-old Scholar Wang on the morning of Aug. 23, when the suspect allegedly threatened officers with a makeshift weapon at a home in the 1500 block of Bridgeview Drive, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which investigates police shootings in the city of San Diego.

Paramedics took to Wang to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police had gone to the neighborhood just east of state Route 15 and north of SR-94 shortly after 8 a.m. on a report that Wang had attacked his aunts with some sort of sharp object during an argument at the home the three shared, Lt. Chris Steffen said.

Officers arrived to find the victims, ages 73 and 79, suffering from apparently non-life-threatening cuts. As paramedics took the women to a hospital, Wang allegedly holed up in his house and refused orders to exit and surrender.

During an ensuing standoff, police entered the residence and discovered that the suspect was hiding in a bathroom.

“Officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by talking with the suspect,” Steffen said. “As the situation continued, (they) were able to open the bathroom door and tried to use pepper spray (to subdue) the suspect, which was ineffective.”

The personnel then sent in a police dog and moved in to take Wang into custody. While they were trying to get control of the struggling suspect, he allegedly brandished a sharp-edged, two-foot-long piece of metal, prompting Tani to shoot him.

Tani, who is assigned to the SDPD Canine Unit, will serve desk duty pending completion of investigations into the shooting, as is standard protocol in cases involving use of lethal police force, the lieutenant said.