State

Richard Robles Jr., 1/11/2009

Name: Richard Robles Jr.

Synopsis: A police officer shot and killed a man armed with a samurai sword in downtown Modesto. A Fire Department official called dispatchers at 5:04 a.m. to report a man with a sword who was acting "bizarre and unusual" outside the DoubleTree Hotel on K Street near Ninth Street. An officer arrived soon after and "within minutes" encountered the man holding a sword estimated to be 2 to 3 feet long. The officer shot the 45-year-old man, who was taken to a hospital and died about an hour later. On April 7, the Stanislaus County district attorney's office issued a report, saying the officer was "legally justified in her use of deadly force" when she shot and killed Robles.

Motivation: Robles struggled with mental health problems, but he was not violent, said his mother Polly Robles. She said she has no idea why he confronted a Modesto police officer with a samurai sword early Sunday morning. Officer Latisha Leap has worked three years for the Modesto Police Department. She was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which is common procedure.

Authorities ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Modesto Police Department at 572-9500 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips on the Crime Stoppers Web site, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

If you would like to submit photos of this victim or have other information to share, please email homicides@modbee.com.

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