Central Valley

Man shot by Fresno police had history of drug use, mental illness (video)

A man shot to death by Fresno police Monday night had a history of mental illness, methamphetamine use and domestic violence that included bizarre threats against his wife, Chief Jerry Dyer said Tuesday.

Gustavo Segura Acosta, 36, died after he confronted officers with a 4-foot-long metal post in the 2500 block of South Kirk Avenue in southwest Fresno about 9:30 p.m.

The shooting took place as officers attempted to arrest him in connection with the violation of a restraining order and after officers first tried to subdue Acosta with an electronic stun device and less-lethal bean bags fired from a shotgun, Dyer said.

Dyer said the incident was a "classic case of domestic violence" in which Acosta's actions became increasingly bizarre. He said Acosta's wife, a civilian employee of the Fresno Police Department, was living in an "enormous amount of fear," and that Acosta was the object of a stalking investigation by both his department and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

The couple had been together about 10 years. The name of Acosta's wife was not released. Acosta was arrested in 2002 on sexual battery charges and in 2008 on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Acosta was served with a restraining order after a physical confrontation with his wife on July 26, Dyer said. But he was beset by mental health issues exacerbated by methamphetamine use for the past nine months, when he had been taken into custody as a danger to himself and others five times, including one three-month stay at an institution in Merced.

He previously confronted officers with a four-foot stick on Sept. 13, but surrendered. On Sept. 18, he was taken into custody after he said he wanted to speak to the United Nations about the Anti-Christ, Dyer said.

Released on Sept. 21, Acosta made a video of himself at his wife's home, proclaiming, "This is the dark window of danger." He sent the video to his wife, the chief said, along with a Facebook message.

The deadly confrontation took place after officers went to the Kirk address, where they first spoke with a friend of Acosta, who said Acosta was living in the back yard of the home for the past two weeks because he was acting strangely and not sleeping.

The officers found Acosta there. He was armed with the pole and partially protected by a five-gallon plastic bucket that appeared to have been crafted to a form of armor around his torso.

Acosta refused police commands that he drop the pole, although Dyer said the friend pleaded with him to do so. Instead, Acosta told the friend to go back inside so that he wouldn't see what would follow.

Acosta then advanced on officers, one of whom fired the stun darts, which struck the leg and shoulder area with no apparent effect, Dyer said. Officers then fired the less-lethal beanbag rounds, three of which appeared to hit Acosta in the torso with the fourth striking the bucket, again with little effect.

A total of 10 handgun rounds were then fired at Acosta by two officers. Dyer said officers attempted CPR on Acosta after he fell, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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