SAN JOSE, Calif. - A 35-year-old man who police say was armed with an ax was killed by a San Jose police officer Sunday morning after he confronted them inside an apartment building early Sunday morning.
The man who police say had a long history of mental illness and drug charges, attempted to set an apartment unit on fire at the Donner Lofts affordable housing complex in downtown San Jose.
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Officers saw smoke and flames coming from underneath the door of a third floor unit. Officers forced their way in and were confronted by two men. One man was subdued while the other was wielding an ax.
"A taser was deployed but it had no effect on the suspect," Said San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia.
The chief says the Man dropped the ax but quickly rearmed himself with it. "It wasn't before he began to threaten officers with the ax and advance on them, one officer having no other choice discharged his firearm in defense of his life, " said Garcia.
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The unidentified man died later at a hospital. Police revealed the man had once been committed to a mental institution.
"This is our sixth officer involved shooting this year, all six had to do with mental illness, that's very concerning to me," said Garcia.
Some residents at the apartment building say the man often acted strangely.
Police say, the officer who fired the fatal shots is a two year veteran of the force and had undergone crisis intervention training to help defuse conflicts with the mentally ill.
The officer will be placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Santa Clara County DAs office and San Jose police.