Man fatally shot by police at San Francisco airport had airsoft guns

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 02: The road in front of the international terminal sits empty at San Francisco International Airport on April 02, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Due to a reduction of flights and people traveling, San Francisco International Airport has consolidated all of its terminals into one concourse in the international terminal. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The exterior of San Francisco International Airport. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

A man who was shot and killed by police at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday was not armed, authorities confirmed.

San Mateo County Dist. Atty. Steve Wagstaffe told The Times on Friday that the man was carrying two airsoft guns set up to fire plastic projectiles.

The guns are considered replicas under state law and a person carrying them would be considered unarmed, Wagstaffe said.

Authorities initially said the man was armed.

The California attorney general's office took over the investigation on Thursday because of a law that went into effect last year requiring the state prosecutor to independently investigate all fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians, the district attorney said.

"This is the first case in the county where this issue has arisen," Wagstaffe said.

In a statement, the attorney general's office said airsoft guns are not considered deadly weapons unless "used in some particular manner likely to produce death or great bodily injury."

The shooting occurred around 7:30 a.m. after reports came in of a man armed with two guns at the BART station entrance to the international terminal's main hall, said airport spokesman Doug Yakel.

Officers tried to de-escalate and used less-lethal measures on the man, but he continued to advance and the officers opened fire, Yakel said.

The man died from his injuries, he said. Another person, who wasn't identified, suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital.

Further details about the de-escalation tactics and less-lethal measures were not provided.

The San Mateo County coroner's office declined to identify the man who was killed, citing the ongoing investigation.

The San Francisco Police Department will hold a public town hall on the shooting within 10 days, department spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said Thursday.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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