Assailant Killed by Police Officer Is Identified

Times Staff Writer

A man fatally shot by a San Diego police officer who said the man charged at him with a board was identified by authorities Wednesday.

A coroner's spokesman said that Wayde Rex Pratt, 29, of the 2800 block of Judith Avenue in San Diego, died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Officer James E. Kremer was on patrol near Main Street and Saturn Boulevard on Tuesday when Pratt, who was on foot, blocked Kremer's path as Kremer drove toward him, a police spokesman said. Pratt, who was unemployed, walked toward the patrol car, and, when Kremer got out, began to yell, "You're not a police officer!" the spokesman said.

After Kremer backed up and called for cover with his walkie-talkie, Pratt picked up a 2-by-6-inch board about 3 feet long and rushed toward the officer while holding the board above his head, police said. Kremer then drew his 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and shot the man in the chest, killing him instantly.

Police spokesman Bill Robinson said the shooting is being investigated and Kremer is on administrative duty as a matter of routine.

Officer Mark Heacox, who Tuesday shot a man he believed was trying to run him over in a City Heights parking lot, also has been taken off field duty pending an investigation.

Ronald Bowman, 26, was in serious but stable condition at Mercy Hospital on Wednesday after surgery to remove a bullet from his neck.

According to police, the shooting occurred Tuesday afternoon after Heacox approached a car, which he had confirmed was stolen, in a parking lot at Modesto and Juniper streets.

The driver of the car backed out of its parking space and gunned the engine as Heacox approached, police said. The officer fired two shots at the car, then dived out of the way.

Police said the suspect drove out of the parking lot but pulled over soon afterward because he was bleeding heavily.

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