IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) --California Highway Patrol investigators believe a Riverside man "was trying to take his own life" when he advanced toward a CHP officer who fatally shot him on the 5 Freeway in Irvine, authorities said Tuesday.
Relatives said the deceased man was 27-year-old Mauricio Barron.
According to the CHP, a man was running in the northbound lanes on the freeway near Barranca Parkway at about 6:55 p.m. Monday before he crossed over to the southbound side and was struck by a car. Eyewitnesses said the man was still on his feet when the Highway Patrol arrived.
The pedestrian said he had a gun, and "ignored several commands by the officer not to reach for a weapon," the CHP said in a statement, adding that the man then moved toward the officer and "assumed a shooting stance."
An officer-involved shooting occurred, after which the officer began administering CPR to the man, according to authorities. It was unclear how many shots were fired.
The man was transported to Orange County Global Medical Center, where he died, the CHP said. After spending hours at the hospital, waiting for word of Barron's condition, his family said they were not allowed to identify his body.
Relatives said they had wanted to check Barron into a facility after he began acting erratically, but he left before they could do so. According to family members, on Monday morning they notified the Riverside and Irvine police departments and the CHP.
At about 11:43 a.m., CHP officers in Riverside investigated an incident in which a man brandished a butcher knife and threatened his friend, who was driving him to Loma Linda Hospital at the time, the CHP said.
The driver pulled over, exited the vehicle and ran to the right shoulder of the roadway. The suspect, who was said to have been "acting abnormally for the last two days," fled in the victim's vehicle, the news release said. Investigators believe that suspect was Barron.
Sometime after 7 p.m., Barron's relatives began hearing about a crash and a shooting on the 5 Freeway.
In an emotional interview with ABC7, Leticia Barron said she was worried that her son had a knife when she was unable to find him, but was unable to understand why authorities would open fire on him after he had been hit by a car.
"Why, when you have somebody unstable that they had alerts out for and were aware? And why did they shoot my son? He got hit first and then they shot him," she said.
Referring to news of her brother's death, Carla Barron tearfully recounted that "we had to hear it from friends on Facebook, from strangers."
"You don't want to hear from strangers that your brother died at the hands of law enforcement," she said.
A CHP investigation indicated the man "presented himself in a manner to the officer to intentionally force the officer to shoot him," the agency's statement said. An autopsy was pending.
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, according to the CHP.