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Fresno officers fatally shot man in backyard

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno police officers fatally shot a man who raised a gun as officers walked toward him in a backyard, authorities said.

The man was identified Monday by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office as Gerald Johnson, 55, of Fresno, the Fresno Bee reported.

Officers were called Sunday night to a family gathering in Fresno about a man possibly high on PCP who tried to hit his nephew with a shovel, Deputy Chief Michael Reid said.

When officers arrived, Johnson retreated to the backyard, where he climbed into an inoperable car.

Reid said police spent a little more than two hours trying to coax Johnson to come out of the car and surrender. Officers said they saw what appeared to be a gun in the man’s hand during the negotiations.

Johnson then suddenly stopped communicating with the department’s crisis negotiator, prompting three officers to approach the vehicle.

Reid said that’s when police saw what appeared to be a gun in the suspect’s hand and opened fire.

“When this person was not responding to the officers, officers approached, saw the man raise the weapon,” Reid said. “Three officers discharged their firearms, fearing for their life.”

Johnson was rushed to Community Regional Community Medical Center but died.

Reid said the gun Johnson was holding “is very similar to something that might be a pellet gun or a bb gun. But again, officers don’t know. It looks very realistic. And when that is pointed at officers, obviously, they think it’s a firearm.”

The investigation remains ongoing.

The officers involved in the shooting have between five to 15 years of police service, Reid said.

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