Tuesday’s harrowing encounter between police officers and a local man who approached them with a blunt object in hand became the first officer-involved shooting incident in the city since 1992, when a female officer fired on a suspected rapist – wounding him in the shoulder.
Situations calling on officers to use their weapons are so rare in Lamorinda that brows furrowed after Tuesday’s incident, in which a local officer fired on and seriously wounded Michael Schock, 28, after the Lafayette man allegedly approached the officer with the blunt instrument in hand. As news crews descended on the area in the wake of the incident, local police were asked to come up with the last time a Lafayette officer had to fire their weapon in the line of duty, and couldn’t.
It turns out the answer to that question was in the Moraga Historical Society archives, in a tattered old clipping detailing another harrowing encounter between a female officer from Lafayette and a Crockett man suspected of a sexual attack on a woman on Crossbrook Drive in Moraga on April 3, 1992. On that afternoon 21 years ago, almost to the day, a female officer stopped a truck belonging to Forrest Donald Smith, 40, of Crockett, on Moraga Road.
Smith, as it turned out, had just tried to rape and rob a Moraga woman, leaving her tied up in her home as he made his escape. A description of his truck was broadcast and the Lafayette officer fell in behind the vehicle, ordering the driver to stop. Witnesses said Smith abruptly got back into his truck and drove away, the officer in pursuit, eventually stopping the suspect a second time at Moraga Road and Rosedale Avenue.
A witness said Smith turned his back on the officer and made furtive movements toward his waistband, refused her orders to turn around, and took a bullet to the back of his shoulder when she opened fire, dropping him to his knees.
No weapon was found on Smith or in his truck, but investigators did find items taken during the robbery of the woman on Crossbrook. He was booked on suspicion of rape, rape with a foreign object, false imprisonment, robbery and burglary, and was later connected to other assaults in the Bay Area.
NOTE: While we know the name of the officer involved in this shooting News24/680 has chosen not to use it out of concern for her safety. We would like to extend our appreciation to Elsie Mastick and the Moraga Historical Society for their assistance in solving this minor mystery.