Sacramento Ca. Nov. 1 2007 Late Wednesday night, a Sacramento police officer shot a man who was holding a knife to the throat of a hostage at the Rite Aid Store on Alhambra Boulevard, authorities said.
The 24-year-old suspect, who was shot in the face, was in serious condition but is expected to survive, Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Matt Young said.
He said the suspect had attempted to rob the store, injured two employees and was holding the store's staff as hostage.
Both victims suffered non-life threatening head injuries. All three were taken to area hospitals, Young said.
Officers arrived on scene around 11:50 p.m., shortly after receiving a report of a robbery at the store on Alhambra Boulevard and L Street, Young said.
Investigators believe the suspect had been loitering around the store for a period of time apparently attempting to obtain some medication. It is unclear if man had a valid prescription or what prompted him to suddenly attack a woman pharmacy employee attending to him, Young said.
When another worker tried to intervene, the suspect allegedly assaulted him, the spokesman said. When police arrived, four officers entered through the front door, and, as they made their way to the back of the store, they spotted the injured male employee bleeding and being helped by another person.
Young said the officers then spotted the suspect behind the pharmacy counter, with his arm around the neck of a 25-year-old female employee and holding a large knife to her throat. Believing the woman's life was in imminent danger, Young said, an officer fired a single shot.
"It's extremely likely that the officer who fired the shot saved the young lady's life," Young said.
The suspect fell to the ground and the officers administered first aid to the suspect using bandages and other supplies from the pharmacy counter until paramedics arrived.
Several units of the police department, including internal affairs and homicide divisions, were on scene to investigate, a procedure followed by the department whenever an officer-involved shooting occurs, Young said.
Witnesses inside the store were also being interviewed.
Authorities have not released the identities of the officer, suspect or victims, but Young said the officer has worked for the department for four years as a patrol officer. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy.