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Man fatally shot by Bakersfield police during foot chase

Bakersfield police shot and killed a man Tuesday night who authorities said pointed a gun at officers as they ran after him.

The shooting occurred about 7:05 p.m. after police tried to stop a motorist who they thought was an attempted murder suspect, according to Sgt. Gary Carruesco, a spokesman for the Bakersfield Police Department. The motorist didn’t stop and drove away, he said.

At least one patrol cruiser chased the vehicle until it crashed near the intersection of Alta Vista and Niles streets. The man got out of the wrecked vehicle and ran away, Carruesco said. Two officers ran after him.

“During the foot pursuit, one officer believed the suspect pointed a gun at him, but does not know if the suspect fired,” he said.

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That’s when the other officer shot at the suspect several times, striking him, according to Carruesco. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Wednesday, police identified the man as Antonio Garcia, 27, of Bakersfield.

Authorities said he was the same person they were looking for in the attempted murder case.

In that Dec. 23 incident, the victim was shot once at a hotel in the 1600 block of Union Avenue and survived.

Garcia was also wanted in connection with a domestic battery incident that occurred on Dec. 31 at the hotel, police said.

Police found a gun at the scene, but they don’t know if it belonged to Garcia, he said.

Police plan to examine the gun found in Tuesday’s shooting to determine if it was fired at officers, he said.

The officer who shot Garcia has been placed on leave, which is routine procedure for the department. The officer will remain on leave pending a review the department’s critical incident review board.

Tuesday’s police shooting comes just weeks after a Bakersfield police officer shot and killed 73-year-old Francisco Serna, a grandfather suffering from the stages of early dementia.

That Dec. 12 shooting sparked public outrage and calls from Serna’s family for a federal investigation.

Police had been called to Serna’s quiet Bakersfield neighborhood after a resident erroneously reported that a man had menaced two women with a gun. Serna exited his home when police arrived.

After one of the women identified Serna as the threatening man, officers ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets, but he refused, police said.

The officer, identified as Reagan Selman, fired seven rounds, striking Serna five times.

When police searched Serna’s body, they didn’t find a gun. Instead, police said they found a crucifix.

Selman and the six other officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

5:05 p.m.: This article was updated with the suspect identified as Antonio Garcia.

This article was originally published at 2:40 p.m.


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