03/15/2007

Knife-wielding man fatally shot after attacking Calif. officer

BY SHELLIE BRANCO, Californian staff writer
Bakersfield Californian

A Bakersfield police officer shot and killed a man who stabbed him after a foot chase south of Valley Plaza near Pacific Theatres Tuesday.

The incident happened just before 4 p.m., said Bakersfield police Detective Greg Terry. Police were interviewing witnesses at the scene Tuesday.

The incident began when the man allegedly stole a knife from Merlo's Cutlery in the mall.

The man ran to the south side of the mall, and a Bakersfield police officer assigned to the mall ordered him to stop. Instead, the man continued running south onCastro Laneand the officer pursued him.

Eric South, a K-9 officer, joined the pursuit as the man led the officers to the mall parking lot next to the movie theater, Terry said.

South released his police dog, which caught the man, but the man stabbed South in the right arm as South tried to take him into custody, Terry said.

South drew his gun and shot the man, who died later at Kern Medical Center.

The Kern County coroner had not released the man's name by press time Tuesday night.

South underwent surgery at KMC for the moderate arm injury, Terry said. He was in fair condition Tuesday evening, according to KMC staff.

The K-9 officer has been with the department for three years, Terry said. He will be on administrative leave with pay while the shooting is investigated.

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