A North Hollywood man mistaken for a suspected drug dealer was shot and critically injured by a plainclothes police officer after he refused to raise his hands and then reached into his waistband for what the officer believed was a gun, authorities said Wednesday.
Police said Robert Morgan, 32, actually was reaching for a butcher knife when he was shot in the back about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was listed in critical condition at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.
There was no evidence Morgan was involved in the drug operation at a house near the alley where the shooting took place. The house was being watched by Officer Steven Galleria, 32, and a partner, Lt. William Hall said.
When the officers approached Morgan, identified themselves as police officers, showed their badges and told him to raise his hands, “Morgan faced the officers and very deliberately unbuttoned his jacket and thrust both hands into his waistband,” where he kept the knife, Hall said.