Arcata police identify man killed, officers involved in Saturday shooting

From APD: On Saturday, at about 1:25 a.m., the Arcata Police Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting a group of males physically fighting in the street near 9th and H Streets. Officers from Arcata Police and University Police Departments arrived on-scene at 1:27 a.m. When the officers arrived they did not see anyone involved in a fight. While they were in the area investigating, a bystander reported to an officer that one of the people involved in the fight had brandished a handgun. The bystander pointed out a vehicle with which they believed the person to be associated.

An Arcata Police in-car camera captured video showing 26-year-old Ervin Eugene Sweat Jr. from Antioch, Tennessee, get out of the rear passenger seat of the vehicle and immediately point a handgun at the police officers. The video does not capture the entire incident.

Initial reports indicate Sweat fired two shots at the police officers, one of which struck University police officer Louis Altic in the upper right leg. Officer Altic and Arcata police officer Matthew O’Donovan returned fire with nine total shots, all of which hit Sweat. The handgun used by Sweat to shoot Officer Altic was recovered at the scene. The handgun, a .40 caliber semi-automatic Smith & Wesson was reported stolen from a local sporting goods store in 2015.

Immediately after the shooting, police officers began life-saving efforts on Sweat. Arcata Ambulance transported Sweat to the Mad River Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Altic was transported to Mad River Community Hospital where he was treated and released. Although his injuries are serious, he is expected to make a full recovery. Officer Altic has 12 years of law enforcement experience, the last two years with University Police. Officer O’Donovan was not physically injured. He is a five-year veteran of Arcata Police Department. As is normal protocol in officer involved shooting cases, both officers have been placed on administrative leave.

This investigation is being led by the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). CIRT is a multi-agency team comprised of local law enforcement agencies that train and respond to officer involved injuries and deaths. In the case of incidents where an officer is involved in a shooting, it is the best practice for outside agencies to conduct the investigation.

The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team for this investigation includes the Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County District Attorney Investigators, Fortuna Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the Department of Justice Crime Laboratory. The results of the CIRT team investigation will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney for review.

Anyone who may have information about this case is asked to call the Arcata Police Department, (707) 822-2426.

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