SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KTVU) - A man shot and killed by Alameda County sheriff's deputies after he allegedly tried to run them over was a convicted felon who was wanted for auto theft, authorities said Thursday.
Charles Ballard died after being shot at about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the Thrift Town thrift store at 162nd Avenue and East 14th Street in the unincorporated Ashland neighborhood near San Leandro.
Ballard had allegedly stolen from the store, but authorities say he likely had a bigger incentive to get away
"Probably the fact that he was on parole and he had an active felony warrant and he's been arrested more than 50 times in Alameda County alone, and didn't want to go back to jail," said sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson.
It all started when a female deputy was called to investigate a theft at the store. She found Ballard outside a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the parking lot and told him she was detaining him, Nelson said.
"He goes and gets into his car and puts the key in the ignition and starts the car," Nelson said.
The deputy and a motorcycle deputy who had joined her tried to stop Ballard from leaving. It didn't work.
"He puts the car in reverse, he slams the gas down and with the car door open, it drags one of the deputies about 30 feet," Nelson said.
The motorcycle deputy was trapped in between the fleeing SUV and a parked car..
The trapped deputy, the female deputy and a third deputy opened fire. The third deputy was also on a motorcycle, and he laid down his bike to rush to help.
"That's why the bike was down. It was not hit. We didn't know that yesterday," Nelson said.
Ballard was pronounced dead. A woman in the Jeep with him was also shot but is expected to survive. A small dog in the vehicle wasn't hurt.
Investigators say the deadly shooting is a reminder of how quickly things can escalate over seemingly routine calls.
"This really starts as a very benign kind of a deal. I mean they're just talking, there's no real indication of what's going to happen. It just goes south, and it goes south very quickly," Nelson said.
Ballard has at least 11 felony convictions, including eight in Alameda County that include drug possession, grand theft and evading arrest, court records show.
The shooting is under investigation by the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office.