MODESTO, CA - A 68-year-old felony sex crime suspect has died after before being shot by police earlier this month.
On July 12, David Mendez was visited by a uniformed officer and Detective Steve Anderson, who works on the Special Victims Unit. Mendez was a suspect in a sex crime and Anderson had interviewed Mendez previously. He was there today, with the other officer, to arrest Mendez.
Mendez answered the door and briefly spoke with the two men. He said he knew he would be arrested after they had completed their investigation and that he had written a confession. Mendez then walked to a nearby desk and retrieved a 12-inch “diver’s knife” that he used to repeatedly stab himself in the neck. According to Lt. Rick Armendariz, Mendez “repeatedly thrust the knife in and out, holding the knife with both his hands.”
Refusing to obey the officer’s demand to stop doing that, Mendez was Tased. This did not prove to be effective and Mendez continued to stab himself. When he rose the knife above his head and made a movement toward the officers, Anderson shot him. This did prove effective, and Mendez fell to the ground and released the knife.
He was rushed to the hospital but would die from his injuries this past Thursday from either the stab wounds, the gunshot wound or both. I looked around a bit but couldn’t find any information about what sex crime Mendez allegedly committed, but according to reports, a suicide note was found in the desk in which Mendez confessed to the crime and implied committing suicide by cop. ..Source..
Officer Involved Shooting Suspect Dies
David Mendez, the suspect in the July 12th officer-involved shooting, died from his injuries yesterday.
On Thursday, July 12th, at about 2:30 P.M., Modesto Police Detective Steve Anderson and Officer Ron Lemings went to a residence in the 1200 block of Muirswood Way to follow-up on a felony sex crime investigation. Detective Anderson, a 12-year veteran of the Department, is assigned to the Special Victims Unit, which investigates crimes involving domestic violence, crimes against children, and sexually-based crimes. Officer Ron Lemings, a 24-year veteran of the Department, is currently assigned to the Operations Division as a uniformed patrol officer.
Detective Anderson had been investigating a case, wherein David Mendez, a 68-year-old Modesto resident, was the suspect of a felony sex crime. (The specific information and details of the felony sex crime case will be withheld in order to protect the identity and confidentially of the victims.)
Detective Anderson had been in contact with Mendez and during a recent interview, Mendez admitted his involvement in this crime. Mendez was aware he was the focus of the investigation and his eventual arrest once the investigation was complete.
On July 12th, Detective Anderson and Officer Lemings went to Mendez’s residence to arrest Mendez. When officers arrived, they contacted Mendez, who was home alone. Mendez opened the front door and the officers stood by the entryway as they spoke to Mendez. Mendez told the officers he had a written confession note for them and walked to a nearby desk in the front living room area, near the front entryway.
Mendez opened the desk drawer and removed a large aquatic “diver’s knife”, approximately 12-inches in length. Mendez immediately stabbed himself with the knife in his throat area and began to repeatedly thrust the knife in and out, holding the knife with both his hands.
Officers ordered Mendez to drop the knife and Officer Lemings deployed his taser in an effort to immobilize Mendez and prevent him from causing further injury to himself. The taser was ineffective as Mendez continued to stab himself.
Mendez then removed the knife and raised it above his head in a threatening manner, as he faced the officers. Mendez was within 10 feet of the officers, who were still standing near the front entryway. Detective Anderson responded to the threat by discharging his firearm and striking Mendez.
After Mendez was shot, he fell to the ground with the knife in his hand, refusing to let it go. After repeated demands to drop the knife, Mendez complied and was taken into custody. He was immediately provided medical attention and transported to a local hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.
On Thursday July 26th, detectives were notified by medical staff at the hospital that Mendez had succumbed to his injuries. This morning, the Stanislaus County Corner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Mendez. The cause of death remains under investigation pending review of all medical records.
During the follow-up investigation, crime scene investigators located a hand-written letter in the same desk where Mendez had retrieved the knife. The letter was a confession and suicide note, detailing his actions in the felony sex crime and his intentions to kill himself rather than be arrested.
Although we will never know Mendez’s true intentions or motives for his erratic and violent behavior the day of the shooting, evidence suggests Mendez may have intended to threaten the officers and force them to respond to the threat with deadly force, in what is commonly referred to as a “suicide by cop”.
Three separate and independent investigations remain on-going, which is standard in any officer-involved shooting investigation in Stanislaus County. The Modesto Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into this incident, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office is conducting an independent criminal review of the incident and the officers’ actions, and the Modesto Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is conducting an administrative investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Neither of the officers involved were injured during this incident. Detective Anderson was placed on paid administrative leave, also standard procedure after an officer is involved in a shooting incident. He has since returned to full duty as a criminal investigator within the Special Victims Unit. ..Source..