Man killed by deputies in Vista wasn’t armed

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SAN DIEGO — A narcotics suspect fatally shot on Friday by deputies trying to arrest him at a North County apartment complex was unarmed, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Sheriff's Tape LineMichael Paul Napier, 33, was inside a garage in the 2000 block of South Melrose Drive in Vista when a sheriff’s gang-enforcement team confronted him shortly before 6:30 p.m. Friday, Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Deputies went to the home to take Napier into custody on a felony drug warrant. He was also a suspect in two recent burglaries. When officers told him to show his hands, he instead moved both of them toward his waistband, according to Giannantonio.

“The deputies were aware Napier was a documented gang member with a history of possessing firearms,” Giannantonio said.

Fearing that the suspect was reaching for a gun, Deputies Brandon Boisseranc and Nicholas Danza opened fire. Napier died at the scene despite life-saving efforts on the part of the sheriff’s personnel and paramedics.

“After the shooting, it was determined that Napier did not have a weapon on him, although there was a knife stuck in the garage wall next to where he was standing,” Giannantonio said. “A search of the garage yielded stolen property from at least one residential burglary and one vehicle burglary.”

Boisseranc has been with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for six years, and Danza for seven.

9 comments

  • ron

    Why is it always an excuse by cops when they shoot an unarmed person? Last time i checked, you have to actually see a weapon…ie GUN! Pathetic abuse of power

    • Jay

      You tell me how fast your reflexes are that by the time you see a gun, the person isn't already shooting you. Idiot.

  • Bobby Glue

    Hey Ron. You should go confront a violent gang member who has prior arrests for gun possession and wait for him to pull his gun out before you take any action. Chances are you might shoot him, but theres a high possibility you'll be shot or killed as well. This guy has had hundreds of contacts with law enforcement. You honestly think he didnt know what he was doing. I think he thought he had his gun on him and thats why he went for his waistband. Turns out he didnt and he got what he deserved. He had stolen property in his garage from the day before. Hes not some innocent civilian. He obviously victimizes people on a daily basis.

  • Nikko Flores

    I have a friend who works in local law enforcement near Vista. He told me this guy actually shot at Vista Deputies in the past, but got away with it because they couldn't prove it was intentional. Sounds like this dude wanted to shoot it out with the police. Glad the cops are ok.

  • Peter

    They ordered him to show his hands, then use him moving his hands towards his waist band as justification for shooting him. That sounds like they could already observe his hands, so why give that command in the first place? Their inconsistencies won't matter, Bonnie will find the shooting justified.

    • Josh Brenner

      What inconsistencies? He was told to keep his hands where they could see them while he had four guns pointed at him by uniformed officers. Instead he reached into his waistband. You really think thats reasonable? For someone to ignore the police and do the exact opposite of what they say. Some people just dont have common sense. Why should the police have to wait to see what he's grabbing for. That would be suicide. This guy was a gang member and a criminal. Those cops are heros. You should be thanking them. He had a bunch of stolen property in his garage for christ's sake. His nickname with the gang was Bullet. Your going to let a guy like that get the drop on you? Good luck. Good thing it wasnt you out there or your family would be putting you in the ground.

      • Peter

        The article states that the officers told him to show his hands. Law enforcement has a difficult job and I support good officers that do their job professionally, but I have encountered numerous officers that abuse their position and authority, thus eroding public support for the job they do.

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