Off-duty officer who shot man in El Cerrito identified as SFPD veteran

The off-duty San Francisco police officer who shot a man in El Cerrito on Sunday night has been identified as a veteran of the department who is assigned to Ingleside Police Station.

Officer Roderick Suguitan shot the man during a “violent encounter” outside a residential building on Moeser Lane about a block away from San Pablo Avenue at around 10 p.m., his attorney confirmed Monday.

“The investigations into this matter are ongoing,” attorney Nicole Pifari said in an email. “However, I’m confident that when all the facts are in, the evidence will show the officer was acting lawfully to protect his own life last night, and he did what he needed to do to survive a violent encounter.”

KTVU first identified Suguitan as the officer involved in the shooting Monday afternoon.

In an interview with the station, the officer called the shooting an “unfortunate matter.”

“Nobody wants to hurt a human being,” Suguitan reportedly said. “As police officers, we like to preserve human life. We want to save lives. Cops definitely don’t want to take lives.”

The officer opened fire after the man attacked him with a rock, El Cerrito police said Monday evening.

Police identified the alleged attacker as Thomas Vincent Whalen, a 44-year-old homeless man.

Whalen was taken to a hospital and remains in stable condition, police said. He has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

The officer, meanwhile, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson declined to confirm the name of the officer, but the department is required to release the names of an officer involved in a shooting within 10 days.

SFPD said an administrative investigation had been launched into the matter.

El Cerrito police and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office are also investigating the case.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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Thomas Vincent Whalen (Courtesy El Cerrito police)

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