An eyewitness who claimed to have seen two Lodi police officers shoot and kill a man Saturday morning said the man did not obey orders to put down his weapons, but also did not charge at officers before they opened fire.
Two officers, one a 22-year veteran and another a 15-year veteran, responded to a call of a disturbance on Elderica Way, west of Lower Sacramento Road, in Lodi at 9:06 a.m. Near the home, officers were confronted by Parminder Singh Shergill, 43, armed with a knife, according to Lt. Sierra Brucia of the Lodi Police Department.
“The man charged at the officers, and they had no choice but to shoot,” Brucia said.
Shergill was pronounced dead at the scene.
An eyewitness who claimed to have watched the shooting from inside a nearby home said Shergill did not move in the officers’ direction before they fired. However, he did not put down a knife he was carrying despite several orders from officers, who were standing 8 to 10 feet from Shergill, the witness said.
“He wasn’t doing what they were saying,” the witness said. The witness did not wish to be named because of possible legal implications.
The witness said that officers fired at least 10 rounds, striking Shergill several times in the lower body.
On Monday, Brucia said the department is waiting to release details on the shooting, such as the type of knife Shergill was reportedly holding and how many rounds were fired, until further information is collected.
Representatives from the District Attorney’s office, Department of Justice and the Lodi Police Department are investigating the shooting.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard in an officer-involved shooting.
“It’s standard practice to give them time to decompress, to come to terms with this; it is a very traumatic event, obviously, for the officers and the family members of the suspect — for all concerned,” Brucia said.
The identities of the officers have not been released.
Jack Johal, a Sacramento attorney who is Shergill’s cousin, is representing the family.
Born in Jagatpur, India in 1970, Shergill came to the United States with his parents when he was about 4 or 5 years old, Johal said.
He graduated from Lodi High School in 1989 and joined the Army, assigned to the infantry division. After spending two years in Germany, Shergill served in Iraq during the Gulf War. He served in the Army until 1995, according to Johal.
After he was honorably discharged in 1995, Shergill returned to Lodi and attended San Joaquin Delta College. After earning an associate degree, Shergill attended University of the Pacific for two semesters, studying biochemistry.
He graduated from California State University, Sacramento in August of 2001 with a degree in biochemistry and electrical engineering.
Shergill worked at a local trucking company while in school, before he went to work at Pacific Coast Producers as a control room operator.
“He was very quiet, very friendly, a gentle person and very family oriented,” Johal said, adding Shergill lived with his mother and three siblings.
Johal spoke with neighbors Monday night, who described Shergill as easy to talk to and friendly toward them. According to Johal, witnesses to Saturday’s shooting told him they did not see Shergill lunge at officers, nor did he show any signs he would threaten them.
“Everyone would see him taking walks to the park and back,” Johal said. “Everybody in the neighborhood knew him. Not a single neighbor said he was angry or mean in any way.”
Johal said when Shergill returned home from Iraq, he began to keep to himself and became more involved in the Sikh religion, spending a large amount of time either in contemplation or prayer.
Shergill would have turned 44 in May.
“All in all, he was a very honest, quiet and nice person,” Johal said. “After serving his country, it’s just shocking all this has come down.”
Johal said he will hold a press conference once he and co-counsel gather more information about the incident.
He said the Sikh community is holding a candlelight vigil in memory of Shergill at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Deshmesh Darbar Sikh Temple at the corner of West Lane and Armstrong Road.