Police: Sergeant feared for others’ safety before shooting

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Ricardo Torres-Cortez

Metro Police investigate after an officer shot a bat-wielding suspect outside a central valley convenience store, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.

Wed, Dec 13, 2017 (12:17 p.m.)

After being cornered by Metro Police officers last week, an attempted robbery suspect with a baseball bat shattered the front door and got into a central valley convenience store, prompting a sergeant to shoot and wound him, authorities said.

Richard Mitchell, 54, was suspected in a string of recent attempted robberies before police caught up with him about 10:50 a.m. Saturday at the store in the 1500 block of Decatur Boulevard, Assistant Clark County Sheriff Todd Fasulo said.

After negotiating with Mitchell for several minutes, one of at least six responding officers fired four nonlethal bean bag rounds at him, but the rounds had a minimal impact because Mitchell was wearing a jacket, Fasulo said.

Startled by the bean bag rounds, Mitchell took a swing at the store’s glass front door with the baseball bat and went inside, Fasulo said. Believing two store clerks were in danger, Sgt. Miguel Garcia fired four shots at Mitchell, hitting him once in the lower body, Fasulo said.

Mitchell was taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Mitchell, whose criminal history includes more than 20 arrests in California on counts including domestic violence, battery on an officer and theft, faces charges of attempted robbery, malicious destruction of private property and resisting a police officer with a deadly weapon, Fasulo said.

Garcia, 39, was placed on administrative leave, following department policy for officers involved in a shooting.

The incident resulted in Metro’s 22nd officer-involved shooting this year, up from eight through the same period last year, officials said. Of the 22 shootings, 10 have been fatal.

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