Orange police fatally shoot man after using fire hose to force him from vehicle
An Orange police officer fatally shot a man Sunday night after officers used a fire hose to force the man from his vehicle, according to police and video of the confrontation.
The man was driving a white GMC van, and around 11:15 p.m., officers tried to pull him over for an inoperable tail light, Orange Police Sgt. Rob Thorsen said. There was an “active warrant associated with the license plate,” Thorsen said.
The Orange Police Department on Monday afternoon identified the man as Michael Anthony Perez, a 33-year-old Orange resident.
Perez initially refused to stop, despite having “ample opportunity to pull his van over,” said Lt. Fred Lopez, a police department spokesman.
Perez eventually pulled into a parking space at a strip mall in the 100 block of West Katella Avenue, police said. He rolled down his window, and officers commanded him to exit the vehicle, but he refused, Lopez said.
Perez then produced a canister, and officers could smell gasoline. He poured some onto a rag and lit a cigarette, Lopez said.
“At this point, the officers were no longer concerned about the traffic ticket,” Lopez said. “It was, do we have a suicide? Do we have other incendiary devices inside the vehicle? That’s why a plan was devised to get him out of the vehicle.”
Police requested the Orange Fire Department after seeing the gas canister, Lopez said.
“Normal people don’t pour gasoline on themselves and light it,” Lopez said. “To me, that’s not normal behavior. That’s an indication that you want to harm yourself or harm other people.”
Police officers broke Perez’s passenger window with batons, Lopez said, and then used a fire hose to spray high-pressure water into the vehicle. Video captured at the scene shows the man moving around inside the vehicle before crawling out of the driver’s side window.
Lopez said Perez reached behind his back and “at some point, he brandished a knife.” Video shows at least seven officers surrounding the vehicle.
Officers “deployed less lethal munition, but it was ineffective,” Thorsen said. One officer “fired a single round, which struck the suspect in the upper torso,” he said.
Perez was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said. Thorsen described Perez as a man with an “extensive criminal history, which included weapons violations and narcotics.”
The shooting is being investigated by the Orange County district attorney’s office.
7:30 p.m. This article was updated with Michael Anthony Perez’s identity.
2:10 p.m. This article was updated with new details from Sgt. Rob Thorsen.
This article was originally published at 6:55 a.m.
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