FOLSOM — A man suspected of fatally stabbing his infant cousin and critically wounding his aunt before being shot and killed by a police officer in Northern California might have wanted to die at the hands of police, authorities said Friday.
The suspect made statements before his death that have investigators exploring whether he intended for officers to shoot him in a so-called “suicide by cop,” Folsom police spokesman Andrew Bates told the Sacramento Bee.
Bates declined to say what the statements were.
Police say the man in his early 20s killed 5-month-old Roberto Varela and stabbed the boy’s mother Thursday before an officer encountered him outside a Folsom apartment building and shot him once as he brandished a knife. Folsom is about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento.
The officer struggled with the suspect to subdue him after the shooting, Bates said. The suspect was placed in handcuffs but died en route to the hospital.
“He continued struggling with officers even after being shot,” Bates said.
No names were released, but authorities said the woman who was attacked was the suspect’s aunt. She was in critical condition.
Bates said police were interviewing witnesses Friday as they tried to determine what led to the stabbings.
Jennifer Dermer, who lives next door to the apartment complex, said that when she arrived home Thursday, she saw a woman covered in blood, crying and screaming.
Dermer left flowers, a teddy bear and a candle at a memorial set up near the site of the shooting. She told the Bee she cried much of the night after hearing that a baby was killed.