Pt. Loma fatal shooting was officer’s fourth in four years

SAN DIEGO -- Authorities Tuesday released the name of a lawman who fatally shot a 24-year-old man who allegedly advanced on officers while clutching a kitchen knife inside a home near Sunset Cliffs.

San Diego Police Officer Richard Butera opened fire on Kyle Zahacefski of Colchester, Connecticut, at the house in the 1300 block of Trieste Drive in Point Loma around daybreak Sunday morning, SDPD Lt. Mike Holden said.

It was the fourth time that Butera, a 15-year member of the San Diego Police Department, fatally shot a suspect during a tense confrontation or standoff. The District Attorney's Office has cleared him of any wrongdoing in the first three cases.

The events that led to last weekend's shooting began shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday, when a 911 caller reported that an intruder was trying to get into a home in the 1300 block of Trieste Drive, according to San Diego police.

"The caller stated that (the man) had banged on their front door and windows, demanding a knife so he could kill himself," Lt. Mike Holden said.

Officers arrived to find Zahacefski in the front yard of a home next door to the one from which the emergency call had been made, Holden said.

Seeing the patrol personnel, Zahacefski allegedly picked up some bricks and hurled them in their direction, then ran off toward the house on the property. Moments later, police heard the sound of breaking glass. Officers approached the home and, finding a glass door on it shattered, entered. They found Zahacefski in the kitchen, holding a knife to his throat.

The suspect ignored repeated orders to drop the weapon, instead pointing it toward officers and starting to quickly walk in their direction, prompting Butera to fire several rounds from his AR- 15 rifle, according to Holden.

Struck by at least one bullet, Zahacefski collapsed and died, despite the officers' attempts to revive him with CPR.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Butera shot 30-year-old domestic violence suspect Joshua Adam Sisson in the chest on a Hillcrest roadside. Sisson, 30, allegedly had assaulted his boyfriend before approaching Butera in an aggressive manner with a large kitchen knife in his hand, according to police.

On Jan. 26, 2014, Butera opened fire on suspected kidnapper Aaron Devenere, 27, at the end of a road chase from Kearny Mesa to Escondido. Devenere, who claimed to have a pistol and a bomb while talking to 911 operators during the 25-mile pursuit, was struggling with a female hostage when the officer shot him, according to police.

On June 1, 2013, Butera shot Giacomo James Cargnoni, 21, during a traffic stop in the 100 block of Sea World Drive. Cargnoni, who allegedly had been threatening to shoot another man, raised a brown-and-silver object at police, prompting Butera to open fire. The object the suspect was wielding turned out to be a knife, authorities said.