Investigators Say Suspect was Holding Barbecue Lighter When Officer Shot at Him

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SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- The Elk Grove Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation Thursday after an officer-involved shooting near Calvine and Power Inn roads.

Two Elk Grove traffic officers in a squad car were trying to catch up with a 25-year-old man on foot through a parking lot in front of the Firestone Complete Auto Care center on Orchard Loop Lane.

Moments later, witnesses heard a gunshot.

"It just scared me," said witness Patrick Hall. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I just saw a guy get shot.' But he didn't get hit."

A preliminary review by sheriff's investigators indicates the officers spotted something protruding from the man's jacket sleeve that resembled the barrel of a gun.

The sheriff's department reports before the officers contacted the suspect he had his hands close to his waist. When he heard the officers he quickly turned around.

"We believe that the suspect had an item in his hand. The officers, fearing for their safety, one of them discharged his firearm," said Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Shaun Hampton.

The suspect sustained a minor graze wound to his upper body from the gunfire.

Hall saw the entire incident from the Smog 'N Go store at the end of the parking lot. He didn't see a weapon on the suspect, who readily surrendered and was taken to the Sacramento County Main Jail.

"He pulled everything out of his pockets," Hall told FOX40. "I didn't see any weapons or anything like that so I don't know if he maybe got rid of it?"

That's what sheriff's investigators believe after a preliminary review.

"We've located a large barbecue lighter. We believe the suspect possessed that at the time," Hampton said.

Without addressing the case, officers with experience in the field said threat assessment is required in making quick decisions.

"We have to react when we perceive a threat because we are always going to be at the receiving end of that threat," Hampton said.

Stay with FOX40 for updates on this story. 

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