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Modesto officers shoot, kill
suspect wielding realistic-looking cap gun
[Modesto, CA]

December 10, 2000
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Modesto officers shoot, kill
suspect wielding realistic-looking cap gun
[Modesto, CA]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(MODESTO, Calif.) -- A man with a history of violent crime against police was fatally shot by officers in what authorities believe to be a "suicide by cop."

William Hull, 55, was shot and killed on Dec. 8 by two officers after he charged at them with what turned out to be a cap gun in this hand, Detective Ron Cloward told the Modesto Bee.

"The gun had a cylinder on it and the (barrel) looked like the real thing. It was very realistic," Cloward told the Bee. The detective was summoned to the scene shortly after the 11:30 p.m. shooting. "He emerged from his house and charged at the officers, with the gun in his hand."

Early accounts of the incident indicated that Hull had the cap gun tucked into the waistband of his pants with his hand on the toy.

Hull summoned police to his home about 11 p.m. by calling 911 and saying he was "ready to die and to send someone to come get him," Cloward told the Bee.

Dispatchers told the officers responding to the scene about Hull's suicidal call, and about his 1979 conviction for assault on a police officer.

No further details were available on the 1979 incident.

When officers first arrived at Hull's house he was on the front porch with the gun in his waistband, authorities said.

He went in and out of his house as he screamed profanities at police when they attempted to talk to him.

Eventually, Hull charged out of the house at police, ignoring repeated commands that he stop and drop his weapon, the Modesto Bee reported.

Police said that they did not know how many shots were fired.

"It's a very difficult situation, and we always look for alternatives," Cloward told the newspaper. "I think the officers reacted in a professional fashion. They were protecting themselves, their fellow officers and the citizens."

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