Crime & Justice

Santa Ana police say man reached for officer's gun before being shot

A Santa Ana police officer shot transient Richard Gene Swihart, 32, twice in the upper torso during a struggle at the Orange County Civic Center on August 1, 2016.
A Santa Ana police officer shot transient Richard Gene Swihart, 32, twice in the upper torso during a struggle at the Orange County Civic Center on August 1, 2016.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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Santa Ana police said Tuesday a man shot Monday in the city's Civic Center was reaching for an officer's gun during a struggle before another officer opened fire. 

Corporal Anthony Bertanga said the man, who has now been identified as 32-year-old Richard Gene Swihart, became "argumentative" when two officers stopped him. The situation escalated into a physical altercation. 

Bertanga said Swihart, who is homeless, is in critical but stable condition. 

Swihart was not armed. 

Bertanga didn’t have details about why two officers, who regularly patrol the Civic Center area, approached Swihart. 

The two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in the wake of an officer-involved shooting. 

The shooting took place near the Orange County Central Justice Center courthouse.

That area is home to a large concentration of homeless people, whose encampments stretch between government buildings. 

Recent safety concerns led the Orange County Sheriff's Department to begin training government workers in how to safety walk to their cars when they leave work.