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Detective fired gun when murder suspect refused orders, police say

SAN DIEGO - A La Mesa detective fired shots at a murder suspect before his arrest because the suspect, believed to be the gunman in a homicide last week, had both hands concealed in his waistband and refused to stop walking toward the detective, San Diego police said.

The new details of the non-injury officer-involved shooting Tuesday night in the Colina Del Sol neighborhood were part of a preliminary investigation by the San Diego Police Department. The SDPD's homicide unit is responsible for investigating all police shootings within city limits.

Those investigators did not name the detective who fire his gun, identifying him only as a 10-year veteran of the La Mesa Police Department. They also did not say how many shots he fired.

The suspect, who is accused of shooting and killing a man last week outside the Burlington Coat Factory in La Mesa, was identified as 30-year-old Derrick Eli Henderson, of San Diego. He's one of three suspects facing first- degree murder charges in connection to the July 20 slaying of 30-year-old Travis Lewis.

The others were both women who are due to be arraigned Thursday in El Cajon: 32-year-old Tiesha Miller-Johnson and 24-year-old Kathryn Luwana Williams. Henderson is set for a Friday arraignment at the East Division Court in El Cajon.

Detectives arrested Miller-Johnson and Williams about noon Tuesday, La Mesa police Lt. Chad Bell said. Roughly five hours later, La Mesa detectives were conducting surveillance on Henderson when they saw him walking in the area of 4300 Altadena Avenue, San Diego police homicide Lt. Todd Griffin said. One of the detectives confronted Henderson and ordered him to the ground numerous times.

"He did not comply and began to walk towards the detective while concealing both hands within his waistband," Griffin said. "The detective continued to give commands to the suspect to show his hands and get down on the ground. The suspect ignored the commands and, fearing for his safety and the safety of the public, the detective fired several rounds from his handgun at the suspect, missing him."

Henderson fled through an apartment complex and was arrested by other officers on the scene, Griffin said. Nobody was injured in the shooting, and police did not say if Henderson was armed.

Authorities did not disclose what led them to identify the suspects, who they say gunned down Lewis about 6:45 p.m. last Thursday outside the department store near Interstate 8 and Baltimore Drive. Lewis died at the scene, and witnesses reported seeing a man and woman fleeing after the confrontation.