Suspect wearing ski mask
and carrying sword is critically wounded

PoliceOne Staff Report
(SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif.) -- Deputies shot and gravely wounded a man armed with a sword and wearing a ski mask as he attempted to break into an unoccupied house.

Although Mathew Blandford, 20, did not threaten anyone directly, Sgt. James Lewis told the Sacramento Bee, "Just the threat to the general public is enough to justify shooting."

About 3:30 p.m. on Monday, two deputies were sent to the neighborhood around Kenneth and Central avenues to investigate a report of strange behavior by a man carrying a sword, occasionally licking the blade and wearing a ski mask, according to the Bee.

When deputies first approached Blandford, Lewis told the Bee, he responded to their demands to drop the sword by growling and flexing his arms in front of his body.

Blandford then tried to break into the back yard of a house through a wooden door. Police fired shots, but did not hit Blandford.

The suspect was able to successfully enter the yard and shut the police out.

When police eventually entered the yard they saw Blandford trying to break into the garage through a side door.

Again deputies shot, this time striking Blandford in the chest.

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department "Use of Force Policy" a deputy may fire at a suspect: "In self-defense or defense of another person when the officer has reasonable belief that there is imminent danger of death or great bodily injury."

Blandford is in critical condition at Mercy San Juan Hospital.

The two officers will be placed on administrative leave, standard policy while Internal Affairs and the Attorney General's office looks into the issue.

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