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Father held son at knifepoint, shot and killed by deputies

Father held son at knifepoint, shot and killed by deputies

HANFORD — A Hanford man was shot and killed by deputies Saturday night after Kings County Sheriff’s officials said he held his own child at knifepoint.

Just after 11 p.m. on Saturday, Kings County Sheriff's deputies said they responded to the 7600 block of Houston Avenue in Hanford regarding a report of a disturbance.

At the same time, officials said the California Highway Patrol received a 911 call from a cell phone stating a man was chasing a child in the roadway in that same area. They said the caller hung up after reporting that information.

When deputies arrived on scene, they said they discovered 35-year-old Edgar Espinoza of Hanford and a young child inside a pickup truck parked on the east bound shoulder of the roadway.

Deputies said Espinoza had the child in a choke-hold and was holding an object, believed to be a large military-style knife, to the child's neck. They said the child was struggling to break free and pled for help, stating that Espinoza was trying to kill him.

The two Kings County Sheriff's deputies on scene initiated an immediate rescue attempt by breaking the driver's side window and instructed Espinoza to let go of the child, officials said.

One deputy grabbed ahold of the child and began pulling him out of the window, but authorities said the deputy was met with physical restraint by Espinoza pulling the child back into the truck.

Still being held in a choke-hold fashion and with what deputies believed to be a knife held to the child's throat, officials said one deputy fired several shots, striking Espinoza.

Upon being hit by gunfire, Sheriff’s officials said Espinoza shouted "kill me" several times while attempting to inflict injury to the child. Noticing Espinoza was likely going to inflict serious injury to the boy, they said a deputy fired additional shots and was then successful in rescuing the child.

Once out of the vehicle, the deputies retreated and took the child to safety. Officials said the 9-year-old boy told deputies that Espinoza had told him "we are going to die tonight” and that he had a gun in the vehicle with him.

The boy also told deputies he had escaped from Espinoza prior to their arrival, but Espinoza was able to catch him and allegedly knocked him unconscious. The child woke up and realized deputies were on-scene, he said.

Authorities said the Kings County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was summoned, and with the assistance of two armored vehicles, was able to approach Espinoza's vehicle and determine he was dead inside.

At this point, Sheriff’s officials said the details of earlier events are still being investigated.

“We are told the incident stemmed from a domestic issue and that Edgar was the child's father,” officials said in a press release.

The child was transported to Adventist Medical Center for treatment of injuries he received from Espinoza and authorities said he was reunited with his mother.

They also said one of the deputies involved in the incident received treatment for minor injuries sustained while initiating the rescue attempt.

Detectives from the Kings County Critical Incident Team, which includes the Hanford Police Department, Kings County District Attorney's Office and Kings County Sheriff's Office, are still actively investigating the incident.

“These two deputies acted bravely in the face of danger and without hesitation jumped in to save a child’s life,” Sheriff’s officials said in the press release. “The child also was very brave in his attempts to flee and immediately alert the deputies on scene that his father was trying to kill him. He is a brave young man and we are grateful that he is safe and back with his mother.”

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