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Southern California police on homeless outreach team shoot man who pulled gun

RIVERSIDE, Calif. >> Police officers on a city team providing services to homeless people shot and killed a man who pulled a gun on them in inland Southern California, authorities said.

The shooting happened Saturday morning in an area of downtown Riverside frequented by homeless residents, the Press-Enterprise reported.

The officers were part of an outreach unit that included a code enforcement officer and two city employees who offer social services such as housing, substance abuse assistance and counseling, the newspaper said.

As the officers approached the man, he walked away from them before pulling a handgun from his clothing and pointing it at them, said Riverside Police spokesman Ryan Railsback.

The officers opened fire, striking the man, who died at a hospital, Railsback said. He was identified as Felix Jerry Marquez, 34, of Riverside. Officials said Marquez was homeless.

The shooting is under investigation.

Riverside police Chief Larry Gonzalez said Saturday he supports having mental health professionals on the outreach teams and added that he wished he had more.

But Gonzalez said, referring to the encounter with the armed man, “This is the exact scenario I worry about if we had a full civilianized team. … I can’t afford to have even one civilian employee get hurt because we are not there.”

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