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Man With Ax Is Fatally Shot by Deputies

April 14, 2006|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A man described by his wife as suicidal was shot and killed by Riverside County sheriff's deputies early Thursday after setting his Moreno Valley home ablaze, jumping through a glass window and threatening deputies with an ax, authorities said.

A woman flagged down a patrol car about 4:40 a.m. and told a sheriff's sergeant that her husband wanted to harm himself at their home on the 24000 block of Eucalyptus Avenue.

The man later appeared in the doorway, yelling at the woman and holding what appeared to be a handgun, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The man, who was not identified by sheriff's officials, went back inside. Deputies then heard popping sounds inside as the man apparently set the house on fire.

Deputies ordered the man outside and, when he failed to respond, fired several rounds of pepper balls into the home, authorities said.

The man then jumped through the front window holding an ax.

Deputies continued firing pepper balls, sheriff's spokesman Cpl. Dennis Gutierrez said.

"The pepper ball weapon had no effect on him," Gutierrez said.

As three sheriff's deputies from the Moreno Valley station stood nearby, the suspect approached them with the ax, refusing to drop the weapon, Gutierrez said.

The three deputies then fired on the man, who was declared dead at 6:26 a.m. at a local hospital.

The incident remains under investigation. The deputies were placed on paid administrative leave as part of department policy.

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