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Off-duty Gardena police officer kills attacker in Anaheim

March 14, 2010 |  9:23 pm

An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man who attacked him at a Del Taco in Anaheim on Sunday afternoon, police said.

The officer, a 10-year veteran of the Gardena Police Department, was with his young daughter at the Del Taco on Lincoln Avenue and Rio Vista Street, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim Police Department. The officer, whom Martinez declined to name, was in plainclothes.

As the officer walked out of the restaurant about 3:45 p.m., a 39-year-old man began to attack the off-duty officer “for some unknown reason,” Martinez said. He said the suspect hit the officer with his hands and pummeled him into the corner of the restaurant. 

The officer tried to push the man off, but the man continued to assault the officer, Martinez said.

The officer then pulled out a handgun and fired at least one round at close range on the suspect, he said. The suspect was hit in the abdomen. He later died.

 The officer suffered at least one broken rib and possibly a broken jaw and nose, Martinez said.

Around a dozen people were inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred, he said.

Before the shooting, the suspect was seen walking in and out of stores in the shopping center near the Del Taco, Martinez said. Witnesses reported that the man was talking to himself and appeared to be agitated and acting unusual, he said. Martinez said the man may have been under the influence of drugs.

Martinez did not know whether the Gardena Police Department was conducting an investigation on the officer-involved shooting.

-My-Thuan Tran

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