Chula Vista Police Officer David Sachs fatally shot a man who began stabbing him in the face moments after the office walked into a Chula Vista home Tuesday night.
The officer, who has been with the Chula Vista Police Department for about two years, suffered four to five stab wounds, including a puncture under his left eye, a gash across his nose and on the back of his head and a slash on his arm, said police Capt. Vern Sallee.
The injury to the back of the officer’s head left a “baseball-sized” lump, and the cut on his arm came close to nicking an artery, the captain said. He received stitches and was released from a hospital Wednesday evening.
The incident began after a resident on Melrose Avenue near East J Street called 911 about 9 p.m. to report that a neighbor had hurled a chunk of concrete over a shared backyard fence. The victim was struck on the shoulder, Sallee said.
Officers arrived at the suspect’s house on Monterey Avenue about 10:25 p.m. where they were greeted by the mother of the man believed to have thrown the cinder block. She told them her son was at home and let them in.
Once inside, the son came around a corner and “immediately assaulted” the first officer, police said. At first, the officer thought he was being punched. It took several moments for him to realize he was being stabbed with a kitchen knife.
The officer shoved the man back and the two got into a scuffle, landing both of them on the floor. The wounded officer fired four to five rounds at the man, hitting him multiple times, before he and his partner backed out of the home and radioed for help.
The attacker was taken to a hospital where he died.
Neighbors described him as a “troublemaker,” who was often heard arguing with his mother.
Sallee said the attacker had an extensive history of violence that included prior altercations with police. Other aspects of his record suggested he may have had mental health problems, but the captain did not elaborate.
Court records show the attacker pleaded guilty to an assault with a deadly weapon charge in 2008 and again in 2009. In each case, he was sentenced to one year in jail and three years on probation.
In April 2010, police said, Scott, the attacker, drove through a red light, smashed into a vehicle. His car overturned and smashed into a second vehicle. When his blood was drawn nearly two hours later, his blood-alcohol level was .14 percent. The legal limit for drivers in California is .08 percent.
He was found guilty of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury, and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $160,000 restitution.
The officer, whose name has not been released, was treated at a hospital Tuesday night where he received dozens of stiches. He did not require surgery.
“Our officer is extraordinarily fortunate that his injuries were not more serious,” said Sallee, who added that officials were “extremely grateful he came out as well as he did.”
The captain called the incident a “terrible night for Chula Vista police.” A civilian police chaplain, who happened to be on one of his regular patrol ride-alongs, was there to provide support.
“We’re very sad an officer-involved shooting occurred. It’s always a tragedy, it’s always the last outcome we ever want to see,” Salle said. “But unfortunately at some point the officer had to defend his life.”
Funds will be given to our Officer Sachs and his wife.