EL CERRITO, Calif. (KTVU) - El Cerrito police have arrested a man, armed with a rock, for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. The man, described by police as a transient, was shot and injured by an off-duty San Francisco police officer during the incident.
Thomas Vincent Whalen, 44, allegedly used the rock against the off-duty officer in a residential neighborhood Sunday night. Police are still investigating the incident and said the shooting happened at 9:58 p.m.
Whalen, whose bail was set at $75,000, was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The officer was not injured.
The shooting happened on Moeser Lane, about a block from San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito police Capt. Robert De La Campa said.
Neighbor Gary Sterman said he heard a loud banging on a nearby gate, and then he heard "yelling and a couple gun shots."
What happened next is unclear.
De La Campa initially said the man was armed with a weapon, but acknowledged it was not a gun.
KTVU has learned that the SFPD officer involved is Roderick Sugui-tan, a veteran officer assigned to the Ingleside Station who has been with the department since 2006.
In a phone interview with KTVU, Sugui-tan said, "It's an unfortunate matter, and nobody wants to hurt a human being. As police officers, we want to preserve human life. We want to save lives. Cops definitely don't want to take lives."
Sugui-tan confirmed that he shot and killed a man in 2010 who had been armed with a machete. The incident was investigated as a "suicide by cop." Sugui-tan was awarded the Bronze Medal of Valor by the department for his actions.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and El Cerrito and San Francisco police are investigating. The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office crime lab was also on the scene. Officials said they were not able to locate any witnesses.
The officer is currently on paid administrative leave.