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Officers forced to use deadly force after bat swinging man attacks them in a Walmart

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Jill Tucker and Kevin Fagan

San Francisco Chronicle

A man swinging a bat at police inside a San Leandro Walmart store was shot dead Saturday afternoon by one of the officers, officials said.

Officers were called to the store a little after 3 p.m. to investigate reports of a man brandishing a baseball bat, San Leandro Police Lt. Ted Henderson said at a news briefing outside the store. En route, they were also told that a robbery had occurred, but that turned out to be inaccurate, Henderson said.

As two officers approached the man, he allegedly threatened them with the bat while nearby customers slowly backed away and watched, according to a video posted to social media that apparently shows the incident.

“Both officers deployed their Tasers, which was not successful,” Henderson said. “After those deployments, one officer fired one shot. The report is that he was swinging a bat. We don’t know how close he was to the officer.”

From the video, it appears several customers and employees witnessed the confrontation.

The officer who fired is a 20-year veteran, Henderson said. The man was hit in the upper torso and died at the scene, Henderson said.

In the video, the backpack-wearing suspect faces off with the two officers in a shopping-cart-lined aisle, brandishing the bat while several people off camera yell and one man shoos others away from the aisle. “Back up, back up,” someone calls out. At least one stun gun appears to be fired, but the man then moves toward the officer, who fires his shot.

The suspect staggers back, walks a few feet away and collapses to the floor, leaving a trail of blood on the floor.

One person identified online as mike_myke, posted the video on Instagram and wrote that he tried talking to the man before police arrived and that the man said he wanted to die. He also wrote that the man threatened to kill the door greeter.

Efforts to reach the witness were not immediately successful.

The store, which sits on busy Hesperian Boulevard in the south part of town, was evacuated after the confrontation and quickly closed.

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©2020 the San Francisco Chronicle

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