Gunshot wounds that two Huntington Beach police officers suffered Thursday as they responded to reports of a man with a knife were the result of “friendly fire” among officers, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.
“Based on preliminary investigation, it appears the officers were injured by friendly fire,” according to a department statement.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case, as is typical for officer-involved shootings in Huntington Beach.
The situation began just after 7 a.m. Thursday when Huntington Beach officers were called to the 2000 block of Delaware Street near Utica Avenue.
A caller said a man was running around the neighborhood slashing tires, Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy said Thursday.
At least four officers began searching for a suspect. They found a 29-year-old man in a narrow walkway between two fenced patios attached to multifamily complexes. The suspect confronted the officers, and a shooting occurred, police said.
One officer was struck in the lower extremities, and the other was hit higher in the body. Both have been released from a hospital and are expected to make full recoveries, police said.
Authorities said they found a knife at the scene but are continuing to investigate whether the man had other weapons.
Handy said Thursday that both officers have served more than two years on the Huntington Beach police force.
“They are both really good, hardworking officers doing a great job,” he said. “We’re blessed that they’re OK.”
The suspect, who has not been identified, was struck by police gunfire and taken to a hospital. He underwent surgery Thursday for injuries that appeared not to be life-threatening, Handy said. The man’s current condition is unknown.
This is the sixth officer-involved shooting in Huntington Beach this year, and the first since March.
The total is more than in any entire year this decade, according to department archives.