In the roughly 27 hours from early Saturday to Sunday morning, police in Hayward, Union City, San Jose and San Francisco each opened fire and killed a suspect who either allegedly hit them with a car or drew a pistol.
The most recent clash ended around 3:20 a.m. with a Hayward police officer firing into a Honda that rammed his cruiser, which carried a civilian passenger. About 4½ hours prior, Union City police shot and killed a man who they said pulled a gun on them during a foot chase around 10 p.m.
These deadly confrontations come just days after two Santa Cruz police officers were shot and killed Tuesday by a suspect who sneaked up on them. It's also been a bloody start to 2013 for California police, who have already seen six officers killed in the line of duty, including those in Santa Cruz, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
"Is it because of all these incidents that these officers did what they did? I don't think so," said Hayward police Sgt. Eric Krimm. "Would an officer under similar circumstances maybe have it in the subconscious? Absolutely. If people just listened -- if they heed the verbal orders and do what the officer is telling them, there won't be a use of force. But when faced with a deadly situation where someone's life is in danger, the officer can and may respond with lethal force."
The spate of violence started around 12:30 a.m. Saturday when Daly City police shot and killed a suspected car thief
Later in the day, a San Jose officer tried to pull over a car he thought was suspicious. Instead of stopping during the run-in at approximately 2:35 p.m., the suspect allegedly rammed his car into the officer's cruiser, sparking a high-speed chase that ended when police boxed him in.
"Two officers fired several shots at the suspect when he made a threatening motion," San Jose police Officer Albert Morales said Saturday.
In the most recent shooting, a Hayward officer opened fire into a Honda that slammed into his cruiser during a traffic stop around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, at the intersection of Fletcher Lane and Watkins Street, said Krimm. The bullets hit the passenger in the Honda, a white man in his 20s. The car later crashed, so police are looking into whether the wreck played a role in his death.
About five hours earlier, two Union City police shot a man who allegedly pulled a gun from the waistband of his pants and pointed it at them. Union City police Cmdr. Ben Horner said the officer tried to pull over the suspect about 10 p.m. on Dyer Street south of Meteor Way.
The suspect allegedly ran from police, ignored their commands and then pulled the pistol. Horner said a loaded gun was found at the scene.
The suspect was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and died a short time later, Horner said.
The officers in Hayward and Union City were placed on routine leave after the deaths. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office will investigate both incidents.
The identifies of the dead suspects and victim have not been released.
Autopsies are scheduled for early next week, an Alameda County Coroner's Office spokesman said Sunday.
Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris said there is usually a rise in officer-involved shootings following the death of police officers. Burris referenced Vallejo, where there were 10 officer-involved shootings in which six people died in 2012. The shootings followed the shooting death of a Vallejo officer in November 2011.
"It's an alarming number," Burris said of the weekend violence. "You have more police shootings of civilians after there's been a fatal police shooting. That's always of concern because you wonder whether or not police are overreacting to an event because of heightened fear."
Police made at least one arrest in connection with the fatal confrontations. The man behind the wheel of the Honda in Hayward, identified by police as 23-year-old Arthur Pakman, of Oakley, was taken into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The weapon in this case was the car, which police said he rammed into the passenger side of a police cruiser.
The officer, who was driving with a civilian ride-along passenger, pulled over the "suspicious vehicle" but the situation quickly grew dangerous. The driver ignored police commands and allegedly drove toward the cruiser, slamming into the passenger side door. The civilian jumped back into the cruiser as it was struck, and was not injured. The officer, a 5- to 6-year veteran whose named was not released, then opened fire.
After speeding away, Pakman crashed at D Street and Foothill Boulevard, and ran about 30 yards before lying down and surrendering.
The shooting left people in the area rattled. Irvin Lopez, 21, whose apartment faces the site of the Hayward shooting, said he heard the confrontation from his home. He recalled hearing a car speed down Fletcher and abruptly stop, followed by shouting. Then came three shots and two more.
"This is usually a great area. It's really calm," he said. "That's why it was a surprise to us."
Staff Writer Irma Widjojo contributed to this report. Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Contact David DeBolt at 925-943-8048. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow them at Twitter.com/melvinreport, Twitter.com/daviddebolt and Twitter.com/nataliealund.