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Police shoot, kill man with hammer at California museum

January 15, 2022 GMT

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Police shot and killed a 34-year-old man who broke into a museum Thursday in California’s San Joaquin Valley and charged at the officers with a hammer, authorities said.

Edgar Morfin Mendoza was pronounced dead at the scene after two officers opened fire at the Meux Home Museum in downtown Fresno, authorities said. The officers, whose names have not been released, are now on administrative leave. One of them tried to subdue Mendoza with a stun gun but he pulled out the darts before allegedly charging the officers.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said officers were called to the Victorian Age museum, which has been closed for cleaning, following a report of a potential burglary in progress around noon Thursday. The 911 caller told police that a man was pacing outside the museum holding a 6-inch (15.24-centimeter) knife.

Balderrama said two officers arrived to find broken windows and the museum’s front door pried open. They discovered Mendoza at the doorway and he was “frantic, he was yelling at the officers,” the chief said.

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Mendoza allegedly did not cooperate with the officers’ attempts to de-escalate the situation, police said in a Facebook post, and “then suddenly attempted to assault one of them.”

That officer used a stun gun in an attempt to subdue Mendoza but he pulled the darts out, police said. Mendoza allegedly then “grabbed a hammer and raised it above his head and charged at the officers.”

Both officers fired their weapons.

Fresno is about 220 miles (354 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.