Santa Barbara police officer shoots suspect

September 3, 2013

carA Santa Barbara police officer shot and killed a man wielding a six-inch knife Sunday night. [Independent]

The man holding the knife approached the police officer around 11:30 p.m. Sunday near the corner of Victoria and De La Vina streets, according to Santa Barbara resident Greg Slater who witnessed the encounter.

Slater said he first saw the man approaching the officer from about 20 feet away with the knife by his side.

“The cop told him to stop and drop the knife,” Slater said. “He turned around and started walking toward the officer. The officer told him again to stop and drop the knife or he would shoot. The guy said, ‘Yeah, I know,’ and just kept walking toward him.”

Slater said he then heard about four gunshots in a matter of seconds.

“It looked to me like suicide by cop,” he said.

Slater said the officer’s decision to shoot “looked justified.”

“It looked like it was textbook. I mean, the guy was a threat. He didn’t put down his weapon.”



One to the shoulder or one to the knee. Four shots not required. Death not required. Taser? Bean bag?


what if the officer did not have a non lethal way to protect himself at the time of the attack?

I own a gun and if you pull your gun you fear for your life, PERIOD! you don’t know if they are high on drugs and will keep coming at you if shot in the knee. You shoot to kill sorry to say.

It was a holiday weekend and the first responders were very busy all over the place. No officer wants to take a life, but in the same token they want to go home at night.

The witness said it looks like “suicide by officer” so what are you just going to keep wounding a guy until he stops coming forward and then hope he doesn’t die.

The officer has to live with what he has done, I feel for the families on both sides, it was not a situation either family wanted.


Do you know how to shoot? I’m going to assume that you don’t given your comment, since it’s quite difficult to hit a moving target as small as a knee even at 5-7 yards. Even more so when you’re under stress and/or the threat of attack.

You don’t use a deadly weapon to try and wing… there’s too much chance you will miss and hit something or someone else. You aim for the nice big target at center of mass and shoot until the threat stops.


Just “culling out the herd”….

Randy Sheila

Was this person ever a threat to anyone else? When law enforcement officers sense that they are engaging someone who is both suicidal and wants somebody else to do the dirty work, it seems like the protocol could include nonlethal methods, especially for the benefit of the officers who absolutely do not need these types of occurrences and outcomes in their professional lives. Our public servants should not have to perform this type of work. Shooting dangerous, lethal and immediate threats to citizens is fine (except that it leaves the officer emotionally and permanently changed).


Ah it is Monday morning and our Monday morning quarterback is all suited up!!!

Yea other means would be nice but the guy is coming at the officer and the officer probably has about ten seconds or less. He has a gun out. Now how long do you think it would take him to reach for pepper spray or taser in his belt and also holster weapon at same time? Probably ten seconds or more?


It’s not Monday morning, it’s Tuesday and I have to agree with Randy. The officer clearly has the ability to reach for a non lethal weapon. The guy was walking not running towards him. But how about if the officer had to use his gun, why put 4 bullets in the guy who only has a knife? Why not a bullet in the leg? Randy is correct about the damage that having to kill someone does to an LE (at least most of them). Don’t you think that the Officer knew that this guy was up to a suicide? Don’t you think that the Officer will have to live with that and it will bother him? I think the text book should be changed to allow some degree to discernment before the Officer is forced (by textbook training) to use lethal force when he doesn’t have to.


He is right, though, Cindy. It’s “monday morning quarterbacking” in the sense that “hind sight is always 20/20” – it’s just a phrase.

You advance on an LEO with a weapon, you get shot. It’s a no-brainer. While I am not a pro-police (nor anti-cop) person, I do not think this was anything but suicide by cop and the officer needs to do what s/he is trained to do. Sure, we know NOW that it was suicide-by-cop (or believe it was), but DURING the few seconds the incident occurred, no one knew anything.

It would have been nice to wound or otherwise take-down without the loss of life, but unfortunately, we did not get that. You are right, Cindy, about how this LEO will have to deal with it. Emotionally scarred and humanized, or charged and pumped up (more dangerous).


The ONE thing you are right about is yes it is Tuesday. Darn holiday has me messed up on days.

As far as he had PLEANTY of time as you say. I just marked off twenty feet. Takes me five seconds to walk that. So AGAIN, you have a guy coming at you with a knife. You already have a gun in your hand, so you are suppose to holster and get out taser or other all in five seconds? I DON’T THINK SO!!!!!

Cindy if it is so easy to make hard decisions why don’t you be a cop??


The non lethal taser: I saw the Paso police demonstrate their tasers. When they shoot a taser, two prongs (darts) with wires fire and attach to the suspect. Then the officer can activate the taser unit electricity to subdue the suspect. In the demo that I saw, the prongs attached about half the time.

They also have a firing range limited to about 15 feet; but the closer the better. They are prone to misfire, and you have to make sure your battery is charged.

They are great to use if you have other officers there to back you up in case something goes wrong, and if the suspect is standing still or is on the ground.

The non lethal stun gun: Stun guns have to be placed against the person’s body; you can’t use them from a distance.


Interesting about the distance and misfires. Yea I think some people watch to much t.v. and movies about cops and think it all goes so well in them BUT here in reality where the rest of us live, it isn’t so smooth like on the big screen.

Theo P. Neustic

The Tueller Drill is a self-defense training exercise to prepare against a short-range knife attack when armed only with a holstered handgun.

Sergeant Dennis Tueller, of the Salt Lake City, Utah Police Department wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover 21 feet (6.4 m), so he timed volunteers as they raced to stab the target. He determined that it could be done in 1.5 seconds. These results were first published as an article in SWAT magazine in 1983 and in a police training video by the same title, “How Close is Too Close?

A defender with a gun has a dilemma. If he shoots too early, he risks being charged with murder. If he waits until the attacker is definitely within striking range so there is no question about motives, he risks injury and even death.


Jorge Estrada

Sorry that this has to be news. Jumping off a cliff or running into a train is not news, thankfully the officer just did his job and will be home for dinner. Best to all of the survivors, on both sides.


The unclear headline makes it seem like the cop used a knife to kill the guy…


Agreed. How about …..Santa Barbara police officer kills suspect WHO HAD a knife?

I like CCN but they have a tendency at times to have headlines that don’t quite match up well.


LOL, Yup, I also thought that the cop stabbed the suspect to death !


Santa Barbara Police Officer Kills Knife-Wielding Suspect…


English is funny this way.


The headline has been changed, so these comments are no longer applicable.


The guy said, ‘Yeah, I know,’ and just kept walking toward him.”


It’s called suicide by cop. Unusual, but it does happen.