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Ceres suspect reached for hand torch before fatal shooting
Dead man
Albert Thompson, 28, was identified as the man killed by two Ceres Police officers during a chase. Thompson was seen pulling something from his waistband, which later was revealed to be a hand torch. - photo by Photo Contributed

The man killed by Ceres Police officers on Tuesday evening had reached in his waistband for a hand torch, the Ceres Police Department announced Thursday.

An investigation has been launched by the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office into Tuesday evening's fatal shooting of Albert Thompson, 28, by two Ceres Police officers.

The deadly shooting occurred at approximately 9:48 p.m. at El Camino Avenue and Don Pedro Road in Ceres. Ceres officers Justin Canatsy and Jesus Salinas fired on the suspect and were placed on paid administrative leave, a standard practice whenever a suspect is killed.

The two officers were visiting a small apartment complex located at 2601 Don Pedro Road where prior illegal drug activity had occurred. The officers encountered Thompson, who had an extensive criminal history and was a parolee-at-large wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He began to run from officers Canatsy and Salinas who gave chase. While still inside the court area, Thompson was seen allegedly "retrieving an item from his waist area," according to a Ceres Police Department statement. The item later proved to be a black hand torch, said Sgt. Jason Coley. The officers each opened fire on Thompson who died on scene.

A resident at the apartment complex said she heard an officer yell for Thompson to stop before the sound of gunfire erupted. Bullets smashed into a white Jeep parked in the courtyard parking lot. Bullet holes were also in the fence that separates the complex from a neighboring residential property.

Sgt. Jason Coley said the torch for which Thompson had been reaching was later recovered.

Thompson was classified as a transient.

Investigators from the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office are conducting a parallel investigation alongside the Ceres Police Department, as is standard in any officer-involved shooting. An internal investigation is also being conducted by CPD's Professional Standards and Conduct Unit.