Rhea Mahbubani

Union City Police ID Hayward Man Shot, Killed by Officers For Charging at Them With Garden Tool

Union City police on Wednesday identified the man shot and killed by officers after he allegedly charged at them with a garden tool.

The suspect was Vasilios Alexander Katsouras, a 29-year-old Hayward man, according to police.

A woman called 911 around 10:20 p.m. Monday and reported that an unknown man had entered her backyard and was banging on her bedroom window, police said.

Officers responding to the house on the 3800 block of Amy Place allegedl found Katsouras clutching a "claw-style" gardening tool, police said.

Union City police Capt. Jared Rinetti on Tuesday deemed him a "complete stranger."

"The residents who live there have never seen the man before," he said.

Instead of obeying the officers’ orders to drop his tool — which Rinetti said resembled a "large hammer" — Katsouras instead ran toward the officers.

Fearing for their safety, both officers fired at the suspect who, upon being struck, dropped his weapon. Police said the officers rendered first aid to Katsouras, but paramedics arriving at the scene pronounced him deceased.

News of the shooting rattled people who live in the neighborhood.

"It's strange for me because this neighborhood is very quiet," Alex Muñoz said Tuesday.

Muñoz, who wondered how Katsouras got into the woman's backyard, admitted that he is concerned for his family's safety. 

"When I go to work, I don't know what can happen at the night time," he said.

Neighbor Leo Cordero, however, questioned the police officers' use of force.  

"Me and my wife were in bed and we just heard 'Pop! Pop! Pop!' one after the other," he said. "I think they should have tased him instead of shooting him, you know? I think we heard five shots."

Both officers were wearing body-worn cameras during the shooting, but the Union City Police Department doesn’t plan to release the footage because an investigation is ongoing.

The still unidentified police officers have been placed on routine administrative leave, Rinetti said.

Police said that the Union City Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney's Office are conducting independent investigations into the officer-involved shooting.

People with information about the incident are asked to contact Detective Krista Fraga at (510)675-5266 or kfraga@unioncity.org. Anonymous tips can be made to the Union City Police Tip Line at (510)675-5207 or by emailing tips@unioncity.org.

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