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Woman killed in Little Italy shooting by law enforcement identified

A taped-off area near Beech and State streets in Little Italy following a shooting that wounded a San Diego police officer on March 3, 2022.
ABC 10 News
A taped-off area near Beech and State streets in Little Italy following a shooting that wounded a San Diego police officer on March 3, 2022.

Authorities Tuesday publicly identified the woman who was fatally shot by law enforcement personnel when she allegedly stabbed a lawman with a large kitchen knife as court services officers were trying to evict her from her Little Italy condominium.

Yan Li, 47, was struck at least once by gunfire when three San Diego County sheriff's deputies and an officer with the San Diego Police Department opened fire on her at a residential complex in the 400 block of West Beech Street on Thursday afternoon, SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said. Li died at the scene.

The SDPD canine unit officer who suffered the stab wound to his chest was treated at a trauma center and released later in the day. His name has not been released.


The personnel who fired their guns during the encounter have been identified as SDPD Officer Rogelio Medina, and sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Nickel and Deputies Javier Medina and David Williams.

The events that led to the shooting began around midday after Li allegedly confronted sheriff's Court Services Unit deputies with a chef's knife in hand when they tried to serve her with eviction paperwork. Li then closed her front door, and the deputies called for backup, according to police.

"While the deputies were waiting for additional resources, an employee in the building told them the same woman threatened a maintenance worker with a knife the previous day," Dobbs said. "The deputies attempted to communicate with (Li) for approximately 45 minutes but were unable to gain her cooperation."

Shortly before 1:30 p.m., the personnel opened the front door to the condominium. At that point, Li allegedly stabbed the dog-handling officer, prompting the burst of law enforcement gunfire.

SDPD homicide detectives are investigating the events surrounding Li's death, as is standard protocol in cases involving law enforcement shootings in San Diego.


"Investigators are still in the process of reviewing evidence and video footage," Dobbs said Tuesday afternoon.

Medina, a member of the SDPD Canine Unit, has been with the department for 13 years. Nickel has been employed by the Sheriff's Department for 29 years, Medina for 23 years and Williams for 14 years.

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