LOS BANOS, Calif. – A man who broke into his estranged wife's home died and two police officers were wounded after a shooting erupted Monday inside an apartment in the California farming town of Los Banos, authorities said.
The officers were in stable condition at Modesto-area hospitals, Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizzee said.
The officers and the suspect were transported to hospitals by helicopter from the small farming community in central California's San Joaquin Valley.
The daughter of the 39-year-old man, who has not been identified, called authorities just after 6 a.m. Monday to report she had seen her father break into the family's apartment through a window, Brizzee said.
An officer entered the apartment and asked the man, who was standing in the kitchen near the front door, to step outside so they could speak. But the man refused and became argumentative and the two started struggling, Brizzee said.
During the struggle, the officer used his stun gun but the man removed the probes from his body and continued to resist. A second officer arrived and all three struggled as the officers tried to restrain the man and it was then that both officers and the suspect were shot, Brizzee.
The first officer who entered the apartment was shot once in the upper torso. He has been with the department for a year. The second officer, a six-year-veteran, was shot in the lower leg, torso and in the head, Brizzee said.
Brizzee wouldn't say if the suspect was armed with his own gun or was able to use one of the officers' weapons. He didn't offer any other details, citing the ongoing investigation.
"This has been a tremendously tough day for us. But the men and women I work with are resilient and we'll get through this together," Brizzee during a brief news conference.
The man hadn't lived with his family for at least a year. Brizzee wouldn't say if his estranged wife was in the home or who witnessed the shooting.
The department had dealt with the man a few years ago on a drug-related case, Brizzee said.
Crime scene investigators worked all day at the shooting scene where two police cruisers were encircled in yellow crime-scene ribbon.
The investigation is ongoing, Brizzee said.