San Francisco police shoot dead man who challenged officers with fake gun

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
A man in San Francisco was shot dead by police after he confronted officers in a police parking lot and reached out for what later turned out to be a fake gun.

The 32-year-old white man walked into the parking lot of the Mission District police station on Sunday evening, police say.

When three police officers asked him to leave the personnel-only area, the man seemed at first to be ready to comply, but seconds later turned back toward them and started to reach for something, which looked like a weapon to the officers.

"The sergeants saw the butt of the weapon as he pulls it out and brandishes it at the sergeants," police spokesman Albie Esparza said, NBC Bay Area reported.

Two officers immediately reacted by shooting at the man. Witnesses say they heard six or seven gunshots. The man was taken to hospital, but died of his wounds there.

Police eventually found out that the man actually had an airsoft gun, which can shoot pellets, but not bullets.

"We don't know his motive or why he challenged the officers or approached them in the first place," Esparza said. "It was very erratic behavior by the suspect, very unusual."

Police said in a statement that earlier in the day the same man already approached some police officers asking them of what kind of ammunition and weapons they had with them, and whether they had ever been involved in shootings before.