A man remained in County Jail late Friday after he allegedly walked into a Grover Beach gas station carrying a machete, stole $400 and then tried to run over police officers with his car in a nearby mobile-home park.
A Grover Beach police officer shot David Jordon Griffin, 24, after Griffin allegedly got into his car, a maroon 1994 Chevrolet sedan, put it into reverse and drove at the officers in the Grover Gardens Mobile Home Park at 1370 W. Grand Ave. early Friday morning.
The officer who shot Griffin was placed on paid administrative leave while the county District Attorney’s Office investigates the incident, as it does anytime an officer shoots someone, police Chief Jim Copsey said. The officer’s name was not released Friday pending the investigation.
The officer is experienced, Copsey said, but he declined to say how long he has been with the department.
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It was the second officer-involved shooting in Grover Beach in six months. In October, a 49-year-old man was arrested after an altercation at his home in which two officers were injured and the man, Randal Clay Corvey, was shot.
Before that, Copsey said, he could not recall when a local officer shot someone.
Friday’s chain of events started at 1:24 a.m., when a robbery was reported at the Kautz Chevron station at 1284 W. Grand Ave.
A man police later identified as Griffin stole about $400 and some Lottery tickets from the station, said Nick Kautz, the station’s manager, whose family owns the station.
Police say Griffin — who dressed in a black sweatshirt, wore a beanie with a bandana covering his face and carried a machete — then ran from the gas station into the mobile-home park at 1370 W. Grand Ave., Copsey said.
Officers from the Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach police departments, the CHP and deputies from the Sheriff’s Department surrounded the park and began searching for Griffin.
A police dog from Arroyo Grande was sent to search for Griffin but could not find him, Copsey said. Soon after the dog was pulled out of the search, an officer spotted Griffin.
“He didn’t listen to the officer when asked to get down on the ground,” Copsey said. Other officers also told Griffin to comply with their orders.
Instead, Copsey said, Griffin ran back into the mobile- home park, got into the car and drove forward, crashing into a small shed next to one of the homes.
He then reversed his vehicle and started driving in reverse toward the officers. The Grover Beach officer, believing his life was in danger, fired at the vehicle, striking the car and Griffin, who crashed into a carport, Copsey said.
Copsey said he did not know how many times Griffin was shot nor which leg was hit. No officers were hurt.Griffin was arrested on suspicion of robbery, kidnapping and attempted homicide. Bail was set at $1 million.
Griffin is not a Grover Beach resident, and it was not clear Friday where he is from. Copsey said he has been in the area only about a week.
Cheryl Dern, a resident of the park, saw the incident from her home after waking up to gunshots.
Dern said police and the suspect were yelling and cursing at each other.
“I give the police department a lot of credit for doing what they needed to do, without anyone else getting hurt,” Dern said.
Griffin was taken to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital at 2:50 a.m., where he was treated for his injuries and transported to County Jail.