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Video of fatal law enforcement shooting in Little Italy released

In this still from SDPD's critical incident video, a SDPD officer points a gun at Yan Li in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. March 3, 2022.
San Diego Police Department
In this still from SDPD's critical incident video, a SDPD officer points a gun at Yan Li in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. March 3, 2022.

Authorities Friday released uniform-worn-camera footage of the fatal shooting by law enforcement personnel of a woman who charged them with a large kitchen knife, stabbing one in the chest, as they were trying to evict her from her Little Italy condominium.

Yan Li, 47, was struck repeatedly by gunfire when three San Diego County sheriff's deputies and an officer with the San Diego Police Department opened fire on her on the fifth floor of a residential complex in the 400 block of West Beech Street the afternoon of March 3, SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said. Li died at the scene.

RELATED: Woman killed in Little Italy shooting by law enforcement identified


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

The events that led to the shooting began around midday, when Li allegedly confronted sheriff's Court Services Deputy Jason Bunch with what appeared to be a meat cleaver in her right hand when he tried to serve her with eviction paperwork.

After Bunch ordered her to drop the kitchen utensil, Li began screaming at him, apparently believing he might have been someone posing as a law enforcement officer, according to sheriff's officials.

During an ensuing shouted verbal exchange, Bunch radioed for backup and Li hurled the documents he had given her out into the hallway. She then slammed her front door, still holding the cutting tool.

"While ... deputies were waiting for additional resources, an employee in the building told them (Li had) threatened a maintenance worker with a knife the previous day," Dobbs said.


"The deputies attempted to communicate with (her) for approximately 45 minutes but were unable to gain her cooperation."

Shortly before 1:30 p.m., the personnel entered the condominium with guns drawn, finding Li in a back room, peering out from behind a nearly shut door. When they began ordering her to come out with her hands up, she screamed angrily back at them and refused to comply.

Moments later, after an officer fired repeated rounds at her from a beanbag shotgun, Li rushed out into the main living area of the condominium with a large kitchen knife in her hand, prompting the personnel to hurriedly back out of the residence.

Reaching her front doorway, Li thrust the knife toward the group of law enforcement personnel, stabbing the dog-handling officer.

At that point, SDPD Officer Rogelio Medina and sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Nickel and Deputies Javier Medina and David Williams opened fire on Li, discharging at least a dozen rounds, and she collapsed onto the floor of the hallway.

The wounded dog-handling officer then shouts, "Ah, (expletive), I got stabbed!"

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

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.

All four have been placed on desk duty pending investigations into the shooting. Such temporary reassignments following incidents of lethal police force also are routine.

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