Police in California say officers feared for their safety when they gunned down a man who turned out to be wielding only a metal spatula when he was shot.

Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz says the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Francisco Moran occurred after family members reported he was drunk, belligerent and armed with a knife.

Armendariz told The Modesto Bee that three officers entered the house to find an elderly man injured on the floor and family members yelling that Moran had a knife.

Armendariz said that after officers shot Moran with a Taser stun gun to no effect, the suspect lunged at them while reaching for a shiny metal object they later discovered was a spatula.

The two officers who opened fire are on paid leave.


Information from: The Modesto Bee, http://www.modbee.com