A 26-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night in a protest prompted by the fatal shooting by Salinas police officers of a man armed with gardening shears on Tuesday, police said. Diego Garcia was arrested at about 11 p.m. Wednesday at Del Monte and Mae avenues in Salinas after he allegedly taunted officers and annoyed a police dog, tried to encourage other demonstrators in the crowd to join him and began to challenge officers while in a fighting stance, police said.
A Seaside police officer assisted Salinas police in taking Garcia into custody on suspicion of inciting a riot, resisting arrest and violating his probation. The fatal shooting by Salinas police that prompted the protest on Wednesday was the third in the city so far this year and the second one this month. On Tuesday, officers responded to a report at 12:14 p.m. from a resident on Elkington Avenue who said that a man was trying to break into their home and threatened to kill them, police said.
The resident told police that the man was armed with scissors and had gone inside the home, tried to kill the victim’s dog and exposed his genitals while making sexually explicit comments. Other witnesses interviewed by officers corroborated the victim’s account, according to police. Officers then found the suspect walking on Elkington Avenue and noticed he had a large pair of gardening shears in his backpack, police said.
The officers demanded he get onto the ground but the man ignored the commands. Police said the officers tried to use a Taser stun gun on the man but it was ineffective and he continued walking away, eventually pulling the gardening shears from his backpack and swinging them toward the officers. Fearing of being slashed or stabbed, the two officers fired their guns at the man.
He was pronounced dead on the street and his name has not yet been released. A video of the confrontation was posted on YouTube, showing two officers with their guns drawn pursuing the man toward a busy intersection. In the video, the man, wearing a backpack, appears to be arguing with the officers. An officer then comes in between the camera and the suspect, multiple gunshots are fired and the man falls down.
Police Cmdr. Vincent Maiorana, who is handling media inquiries about the shooting, could not be reached for comment this morning. Salinas police are holding a news conference about the case at police headquarters at 3 p.m. today. An employee for the Monterey County coroner’s office said today that it will be up to Salinas police to release the name of the man killed in Tuesday’s shooting.
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