Garden Grove resident Bac Nguyen got into an argument with his dad over a dirty fish tank on the morning of January 5 last year. But instead of going to clean it out, Nguyen retrieved a large knife and held it up to his throat. Concerned that his 29-year-old son might try to commit suicide, as he had attempted to do twice in the past month, Nguyen's dad called the police.
According to a report released by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office, two cops arrived on scene within minutes. Officers John Raney and Josh Olivo took cover just outside the home.
The father only spoke Vietnamese but managed to tell Raney "My son's loco!" The cops knew they were responding to a situation involving a mentally unstable person who might be wielding a knife.
Nguyen concealed his hands behind his back. Officers ordered him to stop hiding them, but when he complied, he brought a 12-inch knife to his throat. Olivo told Nguyen to drop the knife or he'd open fire. "Shoot me," Nguyen allegedly responded, dropping the knife from his neck but still holding it near his waist.
The report says that, from a distance of about 15 feet, he "stepped towards" the cops. Nguyen told investigators that he was thinking of putting the knife down at that moment. Olivo fired three times, striking him twice.
Nguyen apologized to the officer after the shooting. Paramedics wheeled him off to UCI Medical Center in Orange but not before asking him why he got shot. "I was being an asshole," he replied. Earlier this month on August 4, Nguyen was convicted of felony aggravated assault and resisting an officer charges stemming from the incident.
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"There is overwhelming evidence that officer Olivo acted reasonably under the circumstances," the OCDA concludes, "and was justified in using the force and means he believed reasonable himself."
As always, read the report in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2