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SACRAMENTO — Three Sacramento police officers have been placed on administrative leave after shooting a suspect who they say was attacking them.

The man, who police identify as 40-year-old Dazion Flenaugh, was placed in a squad car without handcuffs and detained after he was seen by residents “acting suspiciously,” peering into homes and backyard, officers said. Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said the man began thrashing about and tried to kick out the windows and bars of the squad car.

When an officer opened the door to calm him down, he escaped. Police say during an extended foot chase through a number homes, he acquired a chef’s knife and a meat cleaver.  He chased a woman into her house, breaking down the back door.  When she ran out the front, another neighbor who heard the commotion was also threatened.

When police caught up to the suspect, Heinlein said he refused orders to get on the ground and instead moved toward the officers before they fired.

“He charged the officers, and at that point, they feared that subject would kill them or hurt them, and they fired on him,” said Heinlein.

Witnesses said they heard a dozen or more shots. “Why didn’t they shoot him with a taser…why didn’t they shoot him in the leg?” resident Jess Danielson said.

Heinlein said those are options, but not the ones chosen by the officers whose lives were at risk.

“We are very fortunate that the officers were able to find the subject before he hurt somebody, because it was clear his intent was to hurt somebody,” said Heinlein.

District Attorney investigators were on the scene to investigate the incident as well as homicide detectives.