Check out some of the readers comments on these articles, most condone and support the officer in what she did but there are a few that make me sick. I am sick to death of these comments of why didn't the officer shoot the suspect in the arm or leg. If I, as a civilian am sick of it, I can only imagine what you guys in the LE profession have to put up with.

The man was wielding s 3' long samurai sword for crying out loud. What do you expect the officer to do? Sit back and sing kumbaya while the suspect stabs her through her bullet proof vest? I think not! Correct me if I am wrong but last I heard bullet proof vests were not knife proof. She did what she was trained to do, Shoot Center of Mass. Plain and Simple. What the suspect failed to do is follow simple directions such as Stop! Drop the Sword! Get down on the ground!

And another thing, what is it with the fighting the demons crap. Dumbass suspect probably had previous drug use such as methamphetamine usage. Some people never learn and others are just plain STUPID!!!

My condolences to the officer involved in this shooting and hopefully she can get through this.

Police officer fatally shoots man with sword

By Emilie Raguso
last updated: January 12, 2009 11:57:06 AM

A police officer shot and killed a man armed with a samurai sword in downtown Modesto early Sunday, authorities said. The officer, who has been identified only as a woman with three years of experience, was not injured.

Modesto police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen said a Fire Department official called dispatchers at 5:04 a.m. to report a man with a sword who was acting "bizarre and unusual" outside the DoubleTree Hotel on K Street near Ninth Street.

An officer arrived soon after and "within minutes" encountered the man holding a sword that Findlen estimated was 2 to 3 feet long. The officer shot the 44-year-old man, who was taken to a hospital and died about an hour later.

The man and the officer were "relatively close" to each other when the shooting happened, Findlen said. He could not say whether the armed man charged the officer or exactly how close the two were, because the investigation has not been completed.

Encountering someone with a knife or other "bladed" weapon can be terrifying, Findlen said.

"It's a fear of many officers. And your bulletproof vest is not going to help," he said.

Knives are a "serious threat" to officer safety, he said, because the protective vests they wear are not designed to stop pointed objects.

Officers learn in training that someone with a knife or sword can cover more than 20 feet before an officer can draw a weapon. And, if shot, a suspect with a knife can continue to approach.

"It's not like you shoot someone and they drop down to the ground," Findlen said. "Usually there's still some fight in them."

Findlen was stabbed in the back with a 6-inch screwdriver at the downtown bus station in 1997 while trying to take someone into custody. In his case, he said, shooting wasn't an issue because he was attacked from behind.

Findlen said investigators are trying to determine why the man had the sword, what he was doing downtown and what led the officer to shoot.

Spotted by Fire Department chief

A Modesto Fire Department battalion chief was responding to an unrelated call at the DoubleTree when he spotted the man with the sword, Findlen said. He called it in to the 911 dispatch center shortly afterward.

The man was not shot on hotel property, Findlen said. He was hit either in the street or nearby. The shooting took place near the downtown bus station, convention center and the Brenden Theatres movie house. Police blocked off K Street between Ninth and 10th streets. Investigators searched for evidence outside the George Bakus hair salon, not far from the Starbucks coffee shop at 10th and K streets.

The officer who shot the man has been placed on paid administrative leave according to department procedure, Findlen said. Such leaves tend to last about three days but can vary based on the situation.

The Stanislaus County district attorney's office is investigating along with police detectives, which also is standard procedure.

Police said they will withhold the officer's name for 24 hours in accordance with departmental policy. The dead man's name will not be released until officials reach his family.

Findlen said the officer was alone at the scene because she was the first to arrive.

Officers receive various types of training about how to disarm suspects, he said. They practice on a shooting range every two months and learn hand-to-hand techniques designed to help officers escape hostage situations or attacks from behind.

"No officer wants to have to take someone's life, to be in this situation," Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden said. "It's difficult for our officer and for our community."

Samurai swords, which have a gently curving blade, were carried by Japanese samurai, warriors in the middle ages.

Victim, officer identified in Modesto shooting

By Garth Stapley ,
last updated: January 12, 2009 04:23:16 PM

Police this morning identified the officer and the sword-wielding man she shot early Sunday in downtown Modesto.

Officer Latisha Leap shot Richard Phillip Robles, 45, in the 900 block of K Street, near the Doubletree hotel, according to Sgt. Brian Findlen.

Leap has worked three years for the department, according to a release issued late this morning. She did not immediately return a telephone message.

Leap, 34, is a Turlock resident who previously was a deputy probation officer for Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, worked as a group supervisor at Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall and was a member of the now-defunct Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall Service League, according to county records.

Modesto Police detectives continue probing the shooting with Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office investigators. Authorities will not comment further until the investigation is complete, Findlen said, including the length of the blade, whether security cameras caught the shooting, whether anyone witnessed it or the distance between Leap and Robles.

Leap has been placed on paid administrative leave until then, following standard procedure in officer-involved shooting.

Leap shot Robles while responding to a 5:04 a.m. call of a man with a samurai sword acting “bizarre and unusual” outside the DoubleTree Hotel on K Street near Ninth Street, Sgt. Brian Findlen said Sunday. She was the first arriving officer.

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