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California OIS Suspect Acted Violently, Reached for Spatula

September 08, 2010  | 

The Modesto (Calif.) Police Department has released additional information details about an officer-involved shooting on Monday involving an intoxicated suspect fatally shot when he reached for a metal spatula.

At 12:08 a.m. Monday, Modesto officers responded to multiple 911 calls from a residence reporting a domestic disturbance. The calls reported that a 45-year-old man identified as Francisco Moran was intoxicated and armed with a knife.

"This is a very tragic event for everyone involved," said Chief Michael Harden. "The family of Moran and the officers involved have all been affected by the actions of Mr. Moran."

The incident began, according to investigators, when Moran arrived home Sunday evening intoxicated and angry. He acted belligerently toward several of the home's other seven occupants, who called 911, according to police.

Moran went to the kitchen and retrieved a metal object from the air-dry dish rack, next to the kitchen sink, and placed the object in his rear waistband. A family member knew there was a large butcher knife in the rack, and believed Moran had retrieved it.

A male resident attempted to calm Moran, who pushed him toward the ground, causing an injury that required hospitalization.

Modesto Police officers Robert Laxton, Joseph Lamantia, Bradley Peterson arrived at the residence.

The officers approached the home to find the front door open and heard loud commotion inside. When the officers entered the living room of the home, family members began yelling that Moran had a knife. Officers then saw the injured senior citizen on the living room floor.

Officers immediately began to order Moran to show his hands and get on the ground. Officers noticed the handle of a large object protruding from the back of Moran's waistband.

When Moran failed to comply with officers' commands, Peterson, a four-year veteran, hit Moran with his TASER, which didn't immobilize him.

After reaching for the handle of the object in his waistband, Moran began to move towards the officers and began to pull the metal object from his waist in a threatening manner. Officers Robert Laxton, a 7-year veteran, and Joseph Lamantia, a two-year officer, then shot him.

Once Moran was handcuffed, officers immediately began to provide medical aid until paramedics arrived. Moran was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators have determined the metal object Moran had retrieved from the air-dry dish rack was a large shiny metal spatula.

The officers were not injured and have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after officers are involved in a shooting incident.

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