Suspect grabbed officer's gun before he was fatally shot, police say

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SAN DIEGO -- A suspect who got into a scuffle with two officers following a brief foot chase in Oak Park Friday afternoon was fatally wounded when one of them opened fire, authorities reported.

The events that led to the fatal shooting began about 3:40 p.m., as two Southeastern Division officers tried to contact the man in the 2900 block of 54th Street, according to San Diego police.

The suspect became "extremely agitated" and bolted, and the officers gave chase as he fled to the east, Lt. Matt Dobbs told reporters.

After running into the street and through a patch of shrubbery, the man faced off with the officers and began grappling with them, Dobbs said.

"The officers gave him verbal commands to stop resisting but he refused to cooperate," Dobbs said.

During the struggle, one officer felt the suspect grab his service pistol and yank it off his belt, still in its holster. The officer alerted his partner, who then fired a single round, striking the man, who continued fighting but was eventually taken into custody, according to Dobbs.

Officers provided medical aid until San Diego Fire-Rescue Department paramedics arrived, but the unidentified suspect, who appeared to be in his 30s or 40s, died at the scene, Dobbs said.

A witness said the suspect had something in his hand as he fought with officers.

"It was later discovered the man not only grabbed the officer's gun, he was able to break the officer's holster and firearm completely off of his duty belt and was struggling to control the gun," Dobbs said.

It was not immediately clear why the officers decided to initially contact the man.

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