Vacaville police identified a man who was shot by a police officer Thursday evening as 24-year-old Kendall Walker of Fairfield. Walker was shot three times and died at the scene after he walked toward police officers in “an aggressive and threatening manner” with a knife and either a crowbar or framing hammer on Ulatis Drive west of Christine Drive at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Vacaville police Lt. Ian Schmutzler said. Prior to the shooting, police were contacted at about 2 p.m. Thursday by an acquaintance of Walker’s in east Vacaville and at 7 p.m. by one of Walker’s family members in the south end of the city, Schmutzler said. Both individuals reported Walker was behaving bizarrely and making threats that might be related to a past debt, according to Schmutzler. An officer learned Walker was armed with a hammer, knife and crowbar at the south Vacaville residence, Schmutzler said. Responding officers saw Walker speeding through the south Vacaville residential neighborhood in a maroon Geo Metro and tried to pull the car over for driving violations and to investigate the threatening behavior that was reported earlier, Schmutzler said. Walker didn’t stop and was yelling back at the officers, who slowly pursued the Metro Geo, Schmutzler said.
An officer tried to end the pursuit by throwing a spike strip in the path of Walker’s vehicle at Ulatis and Christine drives, Schmutzler said. Walker veered his vehicle sharply to the left to avoid the spike strip, then veered aggressively to the right and quickly drove toward the officer and yelled profanities, Schmutzler said. “The officer had to run and jump out of the way to avoid being struck by Walker’s vehicle,” he said. Walker then drove east on Ulatis Drive and officers used a maneuver with their vehicles to try to end the pursuit, but Walker turned his vehicle and sped toward the officers. A second maneuver by officers stopped Walker’s Geo Metro in the middle of Ulatis Drive, Schmutzler said. When Walker made “a very distinct movement” to the passenger side of his stopped vehicle, officers ordered him to put his hands up. Walker then got out of his vehicle armed with the knife and either the crowbar or the large framing hammer, Schmutzler said. The crowbar was between 14 and 16 inches and the knife had a 2- to 2.5-inch handle and an equally large blade, the lieutenant said. Walker approached the officers “in an aggressive and threatening manner” and ignored repeated commands to stop, Schmutzler said.
The officer, who was not identified, then fired five shots at Walker, with three hitting him in the chest, hip and arm, according to an autopsy conducted this afternoon, Schmutzler said. Walker was pronounced dead at 7:59 p.m. in the 2000 block of Ulatis Drive. Police have interviewed witnesses to the shooting who were either on Ulatis Drive or in their yards that back up to the four-lane major roadway, Schmutzler said. Walker suffers from significant mental illness and had contacts with Fairfield and Vacaville police, the California Highway Patrol and the Solano County Sheriff’s Office for weapons and violent assault offenses since 2010, according to Schmutzler. Conflicts between law enforcement agencies and the mentally ill have been “a public health problem and a tragedy for some time now,” Schmutzler said.
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