Long Beach police fatally shoot man armed with knife, officials say

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Long Beach police shot and killed a man Sunday evening after he charged at officers while armed with a knife, officials said. (KABC)

Long Beach police shot and killed a man Sunday evening after he charged at officers while armed with a knife, officials said.

Officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Obispo Avenue about 9:15 p.m., following a call from a male who said he was armed with a handgun and wanted to commit "suicide by cop," the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement.

A perimeter was established at the scene and calls were made to the man with no success, according to authorities. A police helicopter unit advised officers on the ground that the individual had something in his hands.

About 10:15 p.m., a mental evaluation team officer and others were positioning themselves in an attempt to negotiate with the man, "who had become increasingly agitated," the statement said. According to the news release, an officer-involved shooting occurred when the man charged at officers.

The man was later identified as Jose Romero, who leaves behind a daughter. Family members said Romero suffered from PTSD.

The veteran was diagnosed with PTSD after serving overseas in the army. His sister said he tried reaching out to various support groups, the VA and even the police for help.

"It got the best of him. He tried to reach for help for the police, but in a wrong way. I wish they had better training to deal with someone like him," Sofia Alvarado said.

Romero's family said they wished police had used non-lethal force to deal with him.

Witness Lafranz Pitts, who lives near the scene, captured the moments leading up to the shooting on video.

Pitts said police were telling the man "to get down, telling him to drop the weapon ... and he just didn't listen to anything -- beelined for the the cop."

Firefighter-paramedics pronounced the man dead at the location.

Pitts said he heard "six (or) seven shots." It was unclear how many times the suspect was struck.

Police later released a photo of a black-handled knife that was said to have been recovered at the scene.

Homicide detectives responded to Obispo Avenue are conducting an investigation, as are investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, in accordance with protocol.
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newsofficer involved shootingpolicepolice officerpolice shootingshootingLong BeachLos Angeles County
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