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La Mesa Police Shoot, Kill Armed Man
LA MESA VILLAGE -- A La Mesa man was shot and killed late Friday by La Mesa police after he threatened officers with a shotgun while they were responding to reports of a domestic dispute.
Family members identified the dead man as 35-year-old Andrew Joseph Yacko, a journeyman electrician who worked until May 1 at the San Onofre nuclear power station.
"I don't blame the police; they did what they had to do,'' Yacko's brother Michael Yacko Jr. said this morning. "He was a good kid. He just made a mistake.''
In its initial report, police said at approximately 11:18 p.m. La Mesa police dispatch began receiving 911 emergency calls reporting a man with a gun in the neighborhood of 8300 Pine Court. An initial call reported a woman screaming, followed by an additional call of a possible domestic dispute and a man with a gun. At least one additional caller reported a man with a rifle. Dispatchers relayed the information to field officers who responded to the scene. One caller reported the suspect pointed his rifle at a neighbor’s door where the female from the domestic dispute had fled.
Several officers quickly staged at Pine Street and University Avenue. As they did, dispatch reported the man with the gun was on Pine Court walking toward Pine Street. The officers walked north on Pine Street toward the reported location of the armed suspect. Some officers were armed with rifles, some with pistols.
Police said that as officers approached the suspect they identified themselves and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect, who was armed with a shotgun, racked the shotgun as if chambering a round and then pointed the shotgun at the approaching officers. Officers opened fire on the suspect and the suspect was struck by at least one round. The suspect went down as a result of police gunfire. Officers rendered medical aide to the suspect and called for paramedics. The suspect died at the scene. It is unknown at this time how many rounds actually struck the suspect or were fired by officers, but evidence markers in the street this morning suggested numerous rounds were fired.
Yacko's body remained in the street until nearly 7 a.m. as police did a thorough investigation of the scene. Detectives and evidence teams worked through the night.
Yacko's family (his brother Michael and mother Sally pictured left) said they first heard of the problems Friday when his wife called her brother to see if he could get Yacko to settle down. According to the family, domestic problems had been "on-going.''
"But before he could get there,'' Michael Yacko said, "police had arrived and took care of the situation.''
Pine Street is a narrow residential street in a neighborhood with a mix of modest, single-family homes.
Police closed the streets after the incident and by first light, Yacko's mother Sally, and brother, Michael, stood at Pine and Allison watching officers move the body from the "scene.
Michael Yacko said his brother had had a good job at San Onofre but lost it May 1 when an earlier domestic incident led to his firing. Michael Yacko said he believed his brother worked for a contractor who did work at the power plant.
"He was drinking,'' Michael Yacko said Saturday morning while fielding calls from friends and relatives. "He made a mistake, a big mistake.''
Dan Willis, spokesman for the La Mesa Police, said there have been three other officer involved shootings in La Mesa since 2000.
Officers searched the neighborhood for any additional victims and to locate bullets that were fired. No additional victims were found.
This investigation is continuing.