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VIDEO: California Deputy Fatally Shoots Knife-Wielding Father Holding 5 Year Old Hostage

Merced, CA – The Merced County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) released bodycam video on Monday from the January deputy-involved fatal shooting of a man who was holding a little boy hostage (video below).

The incident began at about 11:44 a.m. on Jan. 13 when a woman called 911 to say that her boyfriend had assaulted her and was holding their five-year-old son hostage in their home, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

Audio from the 911 call showed that the woman told the dispatcher that her boyfriend had started a fire in the residence.

She also warned that he had a large kitchen knife and was threatening suicide, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

“And he told you that he was going to kill himself?” the dispatcher asked in the recording.

“Yeah, and he… he has a crack pipe and he is hitting it in front of my son,” the woman told her.

When deputies arrived on the scene at about 11:56 a.m., 37-year-old Adolfo Cruz appeared in an upper window of the residence and told deputies that he wasn’t going back to prison, the bodycam videos showed.

“The caller said the suspect, identified as Adolfo Cruz, was making statements about not wanting to go back to jail,” Merced County Undersheriff Corey Gibson said in the video that accompanied the bodycam.

Deputies attempted to deescalate the situation but Cruz responded by threatening to kill himself and his five-year-old son, the video showed.

“Let the kid come out. Let the kid come out,” a deputy told the suspect in the window.

“No,” Cruz replied.

“You don’t want him to be there, just let your kid come out,” the deputies continued in the bodycam.

”No, I do,” Cruz said.

“What are you going to do then?” the deputy asked.

“I’m going to kill me and my kid, honestly,” Cruz said.

Then he yelled at deputies to stay back, the bodycam showed.

“You better not come over here, dude. I’m being serious, bro. I’m not going to go to prison, I’m telling you I’m not going to go to prison,” Cruz yelled down from the window.

He shut the window briefly and then returned with a long kitchen knife and held it out the window, the video showed.

“After more attempts to deescalate the situation and repeatedly telling Cruz to drop the knife, Detective Benavides fired a single shot from his department-issued rifle, striking Cruz,” Undersheriff Gibson explained.

Bodycam video showed Cruz flopped in the window after he was shot, the knife still clutched in his hand.

Deputies rushed into the apartment after shooting Cruz to rescue the frightened five year old, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies recovered the blade the father had been threatening to use on himself and his son and determined it was a 13” kitchen knife, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

“Any incident that results in the loss of life is very tragic. Not only for the families, but the community, as well,” Undersheriff Gibson said. “The Merced County Sheriff’s Office takes our oath to protect our community very seriously. We are grateful that the child was not physically harmed during this event.”

The sheriff’s department said the deputy-involved shooting remained under investigation, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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