Police Shoot Homeless|Man in Orange County

     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — Police who shot a homeless man Monday morning near the main Orange County courthouse said the man had been reaching for an officer’s gun.
     Richard Gene Swihart, a 32-year-old Caucasian, was in critical condition after surgery late Monday, said police spokesman Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
     Bertagna said two officers from the Civic Center Patrol Unit stopped Swihart at about 9:30 a.m.
     He became hostile, and during a struggle tried to take one officer’s gun, leading the other officer to fire, according to news reports. The officers have not been identified.
     Swihart, a local transient, was taken to Orange County Global Medical Center, with wounds to the upper torso.
     Bertagna said the district attorney’s office, the police homicide unit and the internal affairs division are each investigating the incident.
     The courthouse is part of the civic center complex that includes the central jail, the main city library, the federal courthouse and city, county, state and federal administrative buildings.
     The civic center area also has become home to a growing number of homeless people in the past several years. Santa Ana police officers in the civic center unit receive special training on dealing with the homeless, Bertagna said.
     Across Orange County, about 2,200 people were living unsheltered in January 2015, according to a biannual census of the homeless. Another 2,250 were living in shelters the night of the census.
     The homeless population in the civic center area has spiked in the past year, including in a large encampment on the plaza behind the courthouse.
     In May, the chief executive officer of the Superior Court, Alan Carlson, complained in a letter to the county Board of Supervisors and other officials that jurors and court staff have grown increasingly uneasy about walking by the encampment on their way to and from the courthouse.

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