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Vacaville police have identified a man who was fatally shot by an officer outside the police station Thursday afternoon as 57-year-old Gustavo Pedro Moreno. The Vacaville man was shot twice in the upper torso soon after he “displayed bizarre and irrational behavior” and asked to meet with officers inside the Police Department lobby around 3 p.m. Lt. Ian Schmutzler said Moreno contacted the records’ staff in the front lobby and was mumbling incoherently. Moreno mentioned Sept. 11 and said his friend needed help, then abruptly turned around and left, Schmutzler said.
The Police Department’s communications center requested a check on Moreno’s well being, and an officer responded about 20 minutes later. Moreno made verbal threats and advanced on the male officer, a 20-year veteran, with a knife with a 4-inch blade, Schmutzler said. The officer then shot Moreno twice. Additional officers responded and began life-saving efforts before Moreno was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vacaville, where he died about an hour after the shooting, Schmutzler said.
The officer did not have the option of using a Taser to subdue Moreno because he was advancing on him rapidly, and if the Taser failed Moreno could have reached out and stabbed the officer, Schmutzler said. “Officers are trained to react to a deadly weapon with a high level of force,” Schmutzler said. The officer also tried to back-peddle, but Moreno was closing in on him and would have overtaken the officer, Schmutzler said. The officer also ordered Moreno several times to drop the knife, Schmutzler said.
Moreno was living with relatives in Winters in Yolo County until about two days before the shooting, Schmutzler said. He was placed under a hold for a psychiatric evaluation after a disorderly conduct arrest in 2004. He was arrested a few times between 2004 and 2007 for public intoxication and “saying bizarre things” to a 2-year-old girl in a park in 2007, Schmutzler said. “There have been lots of contacts but no arrests at local parks,” Schmutzler said.
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