California

Suspect in Fatal San Francisco Police Shooting May Have Had Mental Issues: Sources

Sources tell NBC Bay Area that a Pacifica man shot and killed after shooting a San Francisco police officer may have had mental issues.

The sources are investigating 26-year-old Nicholas McWherter, who died over the weekend at San Francisco General Hospital.

McWherter had been considered a danger to himself or others due to mental instability two weeks before he was fatally shot by police, sources said after speaking with the suspect's family.

Sources said San Francisco police on Friday evening responded to a sporting goods store near Stern Grove after McWherter was pepper sprayed by security after reportedly shadow boxing and using karate moves on customers.

Late Monday, McWherter's family said they need time to mourn and understand what happened.

"This is still fresh and new to us, so we're still trying to put the pieces together," said Carrie Campos, McWherter's cousin.

Police said McWherter's fired a gun at officers, hitting and critically wounding officer Kevin Downs.

"Our family is grieving over this unfortunate situation," Campos said. "Our thoughts are also with Officer Downs and his family. We hope and pray for a speedy recovery for him."

Sources said McWherter's family recently tried to get him committed to a mental health facility.

Police in Pacifica, where McWherter grew up, said their last contact with him was two weeks ago during a traffic stop. It is also unclear if police knew McWherter possessed a registered handgun.

Acting San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin said Downs is partially paralyzed on one side and remains in stable condition at San Francisco General Hospital.

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