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San Diego Police Department Officer-Involved Shooting of Kyle Zahacefski

San Diego Police Department Officer-Involved Shooting of Kyle Zahacefski

Video Channel: Real World Police

On December 10, 2017, at about 0607 hours, officers received a radio call to respond to investigate a report of a possibly mentally ill person acting violently. The reporting party stated that she and her boyfriend had been awakened by a loud thud. Her boyfriend got up to see what the noise was and saw a man in the bushes outside their window. The caller then saw the male climb onto their front porch. She reported that her boyfriend went to the front door to ensure the security screen was locked and encountered the male at their front door. The male, later identified as Kyle Zahacefski, asked the boyfriend for a knife so he could kill himself. The caller’s boyfriend declined and told Zahacefski that he should not try to kill himself.

Zahacefski left their front porch and walked south, after which the caller heard the sound of rocks being thrown onto the street.

At about 0620 hours, Officer James Baker and Officer Jacqueline Giammona arrived on scene. When they arrived, the officers saw Zahacefski on the hill in front of a residence. The officers parked, and as they exited their vehicle Zahacefski started throwing bricks at them. Officer Stephen Hickox and Officer Richard Butera arrived on scene as Zahacefski continued to throw bricks and Officer Hickox personally saw one of the bricks hit Officer Butera's police vehicle immediately after Officer Butera had exited the vehicle.

As the officers prepared to contact Zahacefski, who was positioned on significantly elevated yard, they lost sight of him. Officer Hickox went to a neighboring yard so he could get a better visual on Zahacefski. By doing this, Officer Hickox was able to guide Officer Butera up a zig-zag walkway and into the front yard of the residence.

When Officer Hickox and Officer Butera reached the top of the hill and walked into the front yard of the residence, each of them saw Zahacefski breaking a glass door leading into the residence. As the glass door to the residence shattered, Officer Butera and Officer Hickox rapidly approached the location where they saw Zahacefski enter the residence. When they arrived at the shattered glass door, Officers Butera and Hickox entered the residence through the broken door and encountered Zahacefski, who was standing in the kitchen.

As Officer Butera was standing in the living room, facing the kitchen, he saw Zahacefski hold a knife up to his own throat. Officer Butera gave Zahacefski commands to put the knife down, but Zahacefski refused and instead walked around a short partition wall. Zahacefski lowered the knife and pointed it at Officers Butera and Hickox. Zahacefski then began to quickly advance on the officers.

Officer Butera, who was armed with his department issued SWAT team 5.56 Caliber Daniels Defense AR-15 rifle, fired four rounds at Zahacefski. Officer Hickox fired one round from his bean bag shotgun. After being hit by the rounds, Zahacefski fell to the ground on the living room floor. Officers administered first aid until paramedics arrived. At approximately 0650 hours, Dr. Solomon from UCSD Hospital pronounced Zahacefski deceased.

The entire 515-page report of the investigation into this shooting is available on Patreon.


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San Diego