A sheriff's deputy shot and killed a Leucadia man who tried to stab him with a pointed spike early Tuesday, Sheriff's Department officials said.
Deputy Jeffrey Jackson shot Paul Reynolds, 44, in the neck after Reynolds attempted to stab him with a 4-inch spike about 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to Lt. John Tenwolde.
Reynolds' family and friends say the officer used excessive force and killed a gentle man, not someone who would lunge at a police officer with a weapon.
Jackson was on patrol near Birmingham Drive in Cardiff when he was approached by a man who told him someone was blocking the roadway outside a nearby gas station and behaving strangely, Tenwolde said.
When Jackson arrived at the 800 block of Birmingham, he found a car abandoned on the roadway in front of the station, and saw Reynolds walking rapidly toward him, carrying what appeared to be a knife, Tenwolde said.
Jackson drew his weapon and ordered Reynolds to drop the knife and lie on the ground, Tenwolde said.
Reynolds complied and lay on his back, but sat up before the officer could handcuff him, Tenwolde said. Reynolds then retrieved his weapon and attempted to stab Jackson in a backhand motion, Tenwolde said.
Jackson fired once, striking Reynolds in the neck, Tenwolde said. Reynolds died at the scene.
The weapon was later found to be a 4-inch spike that folds into a knife handle, Tenwolde said.
"I feel the deputies acted inappropriately," said Albert Gross, a 10-year friend of the family.
Gross said that Reynolds graduated from Caltech and worked as a physicist at Unisys for the past 18 years, and had never been in trouble with the law before.
"This was a substantial person the police murdered," Gross said. "I would like to see a complete investigation of this incident. I would like to see the sheriff's deputy perhaps prosecuted. I don't have all the facts, but I know they should never have shot him."
Jackson has been put on routine administrative duties while the investigation continues, Tenwolde said.
Reynolds was the first person shot to death by sheriff's deputies this year.