Machete attack suspect fatally shot by officer

SAN DIEGO -- An assault suspect was fatally shot by a police officer in Southcrest late Wednesday afternoon.

The shooting took place shortly before 5:30 p.m., as officers were investigating a machete assault that injured a 57-year-old man in the 4000 block of Boston Avenue, according to San Diego police.

An officer contacted the assault suspect in the 1100 block of South 40th Street, Capt. Tom Underwood said. The suspect was carrying a three- to-four-foot-long metal chain, which he began swinging at the officer. The officer told the suspect several times to drop the chain, backing away from the suspect as the suspect continued to advance on him. The officer fired a Taser at the suspect but the Taser was ineffective. The officer then fired his weapon at least once at the suspect, hitting him.

Medics transported the wounded suspect, whose name was not immediately available, to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 8 p.m. The assault victim was also taken to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Underwood said it appears the suspect and the victim knew each other, but details of their relationship were not known.

The officer was not injured in the encounter with the suspect, Underwood said.

Police Thursday identified the suspect as 48-year-old Vaughn Harrison Denham of San Diego.

Neighbors in the area say shootings are becoming more common and question their safety.

"We don’t know what could happen around here," said long-time resident Celia Aranda. "When we’re just walking down the street to the liquor store, we don’t know what could happen."