TORRANCE, Calif. – A shirtless, knife-wielding man with a snake was fatally shot Friday in a tense confrontation with police at a Southern California strip mall.

Officers performed life-saving measures on the unidentified suspect, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, Torrance Police said in a release.

The man was seen by witnesses threatening others with the knife prior to the showdown with police.

“I saw him threaten at least two people waved the knife at them,” witness Brandon Hallock, who was at the mall in Torrance before police arrived, told Fox 11 Los Angeles.

“He was sitting on the ground. They were trying to talk to him, asking him to put down that knife. They must have talked to him for a good ten minutes.”

Police told Fox 11 that after trying to talk the man into putting his knife down, they shot him with less-lethal bean bags multiple times.

But moments later, the man got up and approached the officers, police said. That’s when police opened fire.

Police said it was standard procedure and officers took all the proper measures.

“I believe our officers used restraint in this situation as they tried less than lethal options. Officers did their best to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, he did not comply with the officers’ orders,” Torrance Police Sgt. Ronald Harris told Fox 11.

Edged weapons were also recovered at the scene, police said.


Torrance is about 21 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

The majority of the massive parking lot off of Hawthorne at Del Amo was blocked off as police investigated the scene including an animal tank – witnesses say the man had a snake as well. Details regarding the reptile were unknown.

The identity of the man has not been released.

The OIS is being investigated by Torrance Police Department’s Special Operation Bureau in conjunction with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which is normal protocol.