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California

Man suspected of shooting and critically injuring a San Francisco police officer has died

A man suspected of shooting a San Francisco police officer in the head Friday has died of his injuries, police said.

Nicholas McWherter, 26, of Pacifica died Sunday, just days after he was involved in a police shooting, according to the San Francisco medical examiner.

McWherter died in the same hospital that is treating the injured officer, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

The 25-year-old officer remains in critical but stable condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

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“One centimeter down and this may have been a fatality for the officer,” Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin told reporters.

The officer, who is a two-year veteran of the Police Department, underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from his brain, the chief said. One side of his body was partially paralyzed due to the wound.

The shooting occurred about 8:15 p.m. Friday after police received reports of a man who was threatening people and causing a disturbance at the Lakeshore Plaza Shopping Center in the 1500 block of Sloat Boulevard, he said. The chief said the man was “behaving erratically.”

Officers found the man nearby and attempted to contact him. That’s when the chief said the man turned toward officers and fired multiple shots at them, striking one in the head.

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“The officer had no clue he had a firearm and before he knew it, the subject fired on him,” Chaplin said. 

The gunman then ran toward Sigmund Stern Grove.

Meanwhile, the injured officer’s partner called for help. Arriving officers surrounded the area and began looking for the gunman.

The gunman suddenly emerged from bushes near 28th Avenue and Vicente Street and tried to run away, Chaplin said.

Several officers ran after the gunman and a shooting occurred, he said.

“The suspect fell to the ground,” the chief said. “However, he continued to hold the weapon, the firearm, near his chest while refusing multiple verbal commands to surrender.”

Chaplin said tactical officers used a flash bang device to distract the gunman and took him into custody.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

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