Man shot by Tacoma cop in June faces charges for alleged attack on officer

Staff writerSeptember 9, 2013 

A man critically injured when a Tacoma police officer shot him in June has been charged with allegedly attacking the officer before she fired.

Cesar Beltran, 53, was released from Tacoma General Hospital on Aug. 20 and is living with family out of town, said his daughter, Bianca Beltran.

He was charged Friday with second-degree assault and obstructing a law enforcement officer and is scheduled for his first court appearance Sept. 20. 

His attorney, Michael Austin Stewart, declined to speak on his client’s behalf at this time.

“We have not yet chosen a time to come forward with our story,” Stewart said Monday. “There will be a time for that. Prior to us completing our investigation, it’s not the time.”

Charging papers give this account of the shooting and alleged attack on the officer:

Officer Michel Volk told detectives she asked Beltran for identification after he appeared to be panhandling June 29 at East 28th Street and East Portland Avenue.

Beltran grabbed a heavy piece of flattened metal from the ground and swung it at the officer, hitting her on the forearm when she tried to deflect the blow.

Volk drew her firearm and repeatedly told Beltran to drop the piece of metal. Instead, he moved away from her, across the intersection.

Volk holstered her gun and used her stun gun but it did not appear to affect Beltran, who started to raise his arm as if he were going to hit her with the metal again.

Volk then fired her handgun, wounding him with life-threatening injuries.

A Washington State Patrol trooper who happened to be nearby saw Beltran hit Volk with an object and run across the street. As the trooper parked and got out of his vehicle, he heard Volk use the stun gun. After he failed to drop the object, Volk shot Beltran, the trooper said.

Volk suffered minor injuries in the alleged attack, police said. Following department policy, Volk, a six-year veteran of the force, was placed on administrative leave after the shooting. She returned to work in mid-July. 

Beltran has had other run-ins with police, according to court papers. 

According to the documents, Beltran pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree theft and felony harassment in 2012 for pulling a roughly five-inch knife while appearing to ask a man in a vehicle for money at East 39th Street and East Portland Avenue. 

The man locked the vehicle’s doors and called 911. Beltran was arrested, and in the process, threatened to kill an officer, according to charging papers.

Beltran also faces residential burglary and third-degree theft charges for allegedly breaking into an unoccupied house in May.

According to those court papers, he told officers he was looking for a place to sleep and admitted to taking a hunting vest from the house.

The Police Department is conducting an investigation into the June 29 shooting, as is done whenever an officer discharges his or her weapon.

The shooting review board that will look at the results of the investigation should be convened in a couple months, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

Pierce County prosecutors generally do not investigate officer-involved shootings unless the victim dies, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

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