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SFPD officer under investigation dies by suicide during traffic stop

SFPD Officer Antonio Malinao Cacatian died by suicide in a mall parking lot after being pulled over by Richmond police

By Evan Sernoffsky
San Francisco Chronicle

RICHMOND, Calif. — A San Francisco police officer who shot and killed himself in Richmond after being pulled over by an officer in that city was under investigation for child sexual abuse in Las Vegas, authorities said Tuesday.

The officer, identified by the Contra Costa County coroner’s office as 49-year-old Richmond resident Antonio Malinao Cacatian, killed himself Monday during a traffic stop in the Hilltop Mall parking lot.

Cacatian was a nine-year veteran of the San Francisco force and had worked out of the Taraval and Park district stations.

Police in Las Vegas began investigating Cacatian in November after learning he may have committed sexual acts in 2014 upon a child under the age of 14, said Officer Laura Meltzer, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The suspected victim “didn’t appear to be a stranger” to Cacatian, Meltzer said. Police did not elaborate on the circumstances because of the child’s age.

Las Vegas detectives were in the process of handing the case over to the Clark County district attorney’s office. They had not secured a warrant for Cacatian’s arrest, but informed San Francisco police officials about the case sometime after Dec. 11, Meltzer said.

Cacatian killed himself at about 1:30 p.m. in Richmond. As an officer approached his car near a JCPenney store, he heard a gunshot, officials said.

The Richmond officer then retreated to his patrol car, but couldn’t see inside Cacatian’s vehicle because of its tinted windows, said Lt. Felix Tan, a Richmond police spokesman. The officer fired a beanbag round, shattering the windshield, before discovering that Cacatian had shot himself, police said.

San Francisco police officials would not discuss the shooting, but said investigators were in Richmond “regarding an investigation that involved multiple jurisdictions.”

“The Chief of Police and command staff of the San Francisco Police Department have expressed their condolences to the officer’s family,” officials said in a statement.

©2017 the San Francisco Chronicle