Authorities Tuesday released video clips of a deputy’s non-fatal shooting of a seemingly suicidal 77-year-old man who approached sheriff’s personnel and bystanders with a gun in his hand outside a Vista church.
The armed septuagenarian, whose name has not been released, was slowly walking toward a parking lot in front of Iglesia Ni Cristo Church of Christ in the 1400 block of Calle Jules when Deputy Justin Williams shot him on the afternoon of May 7, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The man remained hospitalized this week for treatment of gunshot wounds to his legs. He is expected to survive, and the county District Attorney’s Office does not plan to file criminal charges against him over the encounter, sheriff’s officials said.
Williams’ uniform-worn camera, a video surveillance system and a witness’ cellphone captured images of the shooting and the events that immediately preceded it.
Deputies went to the church just north of East Bobier Drive about 12:30 p.m. in response to a 911 caller’s report that a man was in a building there, holding a handgun to his head.
When deputies arrived, they learned that members of the congregation were inside the complex with the armed man, though he was in a separate structure,
As the patrol personnel were trying to get more information about the situation, the suspect walked outside into a breezeway with a cane in one hand and a pistol in the other, authorities said.
Despite deputies’ repeated commands to drop the gun, the man kept walking slowly in their direction, holding the weapon loosely at arm’s length — seemingly clutching it by the end of the handgrip, not in a position that would allow him to readily fire it.
The personnel repeatedly ordered the man to drop the firearm, to no avail. As the deputies backed up and continued shouting at him to disarm himself, he walked into the parking lot, where some bystanders stood at a distance, watching the confrontation.
“I don’t want to have to shoot you!,” Williams is heard shouting in his body-worn-camera footage. “Please drop the gun! Please!”
In response, the armed man yells back “shoot” several times. A moment later, the deputy fires a single round, prompting the suspect to drop the gun and collapse onto the pavement.
Sheriff’s personnel rendered first aid, including the application of tourniquets, on the man prior to the arrival of paramedics.
As is common protocol in cases of law enforcement shootings, Williams, who has been employed by the Sheriff’s Department for about 2 1/2 years, will work a desk job until he is cleared for a return to full field duty, officials said.
— City News Service