A Modesto police officer shot and killed a man after a Stanislaus County sheriff's helicopter crew spotted the man beating a baby boy in the middle of an intersection in rural Stanislaus County on Saturday, Modesto police said.
The helicopter responded to 911 calls around 10:15 p.m. Saturday from residents near the intersection of Bradbury and Blaker roads reporting a man was assaulting an infant. "(He) was beating an infant in the middle of the road - beating it for no apparent reason," said Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Raj Singh.
The crew decided to make an emergency landing in a cow pasture near the roadway, but were blocked from reaching the man by an electrified, barbed-wire fence. A Modesto police officer serving as a tactical flight officer aboard the helicopter then shot the attacker. "According to Singh, the officer, "Pulled out his service weapon, pointed it at the suspect and told him to step away from the baby. So in an attempt to try to save the baby's life, the officer fired, hitting the suspect, which resulted in his death." The man was later pronounced dead at the scene. Emergency crews rushed the child to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where the infant died shortly after arrival.
Singh said an elderly couple made the first 911 call to police after spotting the suspect's stopped pickup facing the wrong direction. They said a young man was brutally beating a child behind his truck and throwing the toddler on the ground. "They could see him being beaten and people were trying to intervene, but it was having little or no effect," said Singh, adding that one man who tried to stop the violence was repeatedly thrown to the ground by the suspect.
The names of the man and infant, who was between 12 and 24 months old, were not released and there was no immediate word on the relationship between the two. Singh said the toddler was so badly beaten it will have to be identified through blood or DNA testing.