LA MESA, Calif. — The suspect and officer involved in last weekend’s fatal police shooting in La Mesa have been identified by authorities.
The suspect in this incident has been identified as 41-year-old Jason Hampton of La Mesa, the San Diego Police Department confirmed.
Officers recognized Hampton — who had a felony warrant — standing outside the passenger side of a vehicle in a parking lot at 8000 University Ave. Sunday evening.
When officers contacted the suspect, police say he took out a handgun and pointed it directly at an officer who was standing in front of the vehicle. According SDPD, Hampton tried to fire at the officer multiple times but the firearm appeared to malfunction.
In response, one officer discharged his firearm multiple times at the suspect as he ran through the parking lot. As the Hampton continued to run towards University Avenue, police say it appeared he was trying to manipulate or clear the firearm of the malfunction.
The officer — now identified as Brian Heller — discharged his firearm, striking the suspect in the upper body multiple times. At that point, Hampton fell to the ground and dropped his firearm, SDPD explained. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
A loaded 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene.
Officer Heller has been employed by the La Mesa Police Department for six years and is currently assigned as a Master Patrol Officer in La Mesa. SDPD says he has been placed on paid leave per the La Mesa Police Department’s standard protocol following an officer-involved shooting incident.
The second officer present did not fire his weapon during this incident, SDPD determined.
The San Diego Police Homicide Unit was called to the scene to conduct the officer-involved-shooting investigation. Detectives are continuing to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and examine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.