Officer-involved shootings in Manteca as well as San Joaquin County are relatively non-existent compared to California’s larger urban areas.
This week’s fatal shooting of a suspect in a Manteca residential neighborhood was the first time an officer had to discharge his gun at a suspect in several years. The last incident involved canine officer Bob Anderson who shot a motorist through the man’s windshield in the dark of night when the man was attempting to run the officer down.
The suspect, who was shot in the hand, was found guilty and eventually sentenced to a seven-year prison term. Other officers had to use their weapons years earlier when another man attempted to run them down with his vehicle. In Manteca, statistics indicate a police use of deadly force with a firearm occurs about every three years.
The last time officers killed a suspect in Manteca in a shooting was about 12 years ago. Two were killed a couple weeks apart after firing or pointing a gun at officers. One incident was on Lancaster Drive and the other in the parking lot of a restaurant in the 600 block of East Yosemite Avenue.
There was another incident inside Manteca’s city limits a year later but it involved a sheriff’s officer who fired on a suspect he had arrested and placed in the back of his patrol car near Woodward Park where homes were just starting to be built. The officer continued gathering evidence. The suspect had managed to get into the front seat while still cuffed, and started driving the vehicle toward the officer.
Stockton Police Department public information officer Pete Smith acknowledged about five shootings per year by his officers for a population of some 300,000 people.
In the unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County deputies have had to use their weapons minimal times in the field in the past six years.
Sheriff’s public information officer Les Garcia noted that this year to date there has been no officer-involved shootings. In 2009 and 2010 there were two incidents – one each year. In both 2007 and 2008 there were no reports of deputies using their weapons against any suspects other than vicious dogs.
The emotional impact that the shooting of an individual has on a police officer often has been recognized as post-shooting trauma that often overwhelms the shooter for weeks, months and even years.
It has been noted that because events occur so suddenly – often unexpected – they can challenge the psyche of a well-trained officer shouldering the memory of killing someone. Not only is the police officer who feels he had to use deadly force is negatively affected, but so is his entire family that lives with him by the psychological impact of taking a life.