Henry K. Lee, 05/10/12
The Oakland police officer who fatally shot an 18-year-old man during a chase opened fire only after the suspect pointed a gun at him twice, the officer’s attorney said Wednesday.
Alan Blueford, 18, was shot after witnesses said he pointed a gun at the officer early Sunday during a chase near 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in East Oakland, police said.
Police officials have not identified the officer, but sources said he was Officer Miguel Masso.
The incident began when Masso and his partner saw Blueford and two companions on the 1900 block of 90th Avenue shortly after midnight and suspected Blueford was hiding a gun, police said.
Blueford ran and pointed a gun at Masso, who responded with four shots, authorities said.
Three shots hit Blueford, and the fourth hit the officer in the leg, police said.
Blueford’s mother and attorney John Burris, whom the family has retained, expressed skepticism that he had pointed a gun at police.
However, “several independent witnesses at the scene” said they had seen Blueford point the gun, said Sgt. Chris Bolton, chief of staff for Chief Howard Jordan.
Harry Stern, Masso’s attorney, said Blueford had pointed the gun twice at the officer.
“The suspect had ample opportunity to try to give up, toss the gun down or do something else that would indicate he was going to give up,” Stern said. “Instead, he chose to try to fight it out with the officer.”
A gun was recovered at the scene, police said. Investigators do not believe it was fired, Bolton said.
Blueford was on the verge of graduating from Skyline High School in Oakland. He was on felony probation for a burglary conviction from San Joaquin County, Bolton said.