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Police Kill Man After Standoff

November 18, 2001|TINA BORGATTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange police shot and killed a man early Saturday after he fired at officers several times during a five-hour standoff, authorities said. No officers were injured.

The man's wife called authorities to the couple's home on East Garfield Avenue in Orange shortly after 8:45 p.m. Friday. She told authorities that her husband, Steve Coleman, 48, had a rifle and a handgun, and was threatening to kill her and himself.

"She was able to leave the home to call police," said Orange Police Sgt. Dave Hill. "He wasn't holding her hostage, but he did point the gun at her. From the sound of it, she just ran out of the house."

When officers arrived, Coleman began firing, Hill said. "It wasn't like, 'Oh wow, a couple of shots are being fired,' " he said. "Rounds were whizzing by the officers' heads."

The department's Special Weapons and Tactics team responded, along with crisis negotiators, who attempted to coax Coleman from the house. Their telephone conversations were interrupted several times by shots exchanged by Coleman and officers, Hill said.

Several nearby homes were evacuated, Hill said. The Red Cross set up a waiting room for residents at the nearby Orange Unified School District offices, where they stayed for several hours.

The standoff ended shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, when Coleman stepped outside the home with his rifle pointed at officers, who fired at him. Orange Fire Department paramedics pronounced Coleman dead at the scene.

Hill said Coleman had been upset over medical problems.

The police department and the Orange County district attorney's office are investigating.

"The D.A.'s office will determine how many rounds were fired and by whom," Hill said. "Our investigators will look into the criminal activity of the suspect."

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