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Police Say Banta Charged Them With 10-Inch Knife

Walnut Creek police are still waiting for the toxicology reports; a coroner's inquest is scheduled in the next several months.

Anthony Banta was shot and killed on Dec. 27 by Walnut Creek police after threatening four officers with a 10-inch chef’s knife, refusing numerous orders to drop the weapon and preparing to charge toward them.

Those were the new details on the incident outlined by Police Chief Joel Bryden at a press conference Monday.

Officers were dispatched to the apartments at 1450 Creekside Dr. at 3:13 a.m. Dec. 27, after a 9-1-1 call from a woman included screaming and a plea for help, before the line went dead, Bryden said. When officers arrived, they found 22-year-old Banta at the top of the stairs. Bryden said Banta charged toward them with a 10-inch blade, at which point officers opened fire. Just how many shots were fired and by whom is not being released pending further investigation, he added.

Those details may emerge after a coroner’s inquest takes place in the next few months. Bryden said the department is waiting on toxicology reports that might reveal if Banta was on drugs at the time.

Responding to a question from the audience as to why officers didn’t use less lethal force, such as a Taser or shooting the suspect in the foot to prevent him charging at officers, to subdue Banta, Bryden said that such actions “happen on television, they don’t happen in real life.”

The couple who made the original 9-1-1 call told police that they believed Banta was going to hurt or kill them. Banta had no criminal record, and those who knew him said he was a gentle young man who showed no violent tendencies.

John N January 08, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Well I guess that clears that up. Glad we at least got some sort of explanation and maybe some closure. Its a shame to lose a life so young but if what was said is the truth, it seems like the officers had no choice. I knew Anthony and it did seem out of character but maybe something just went awry. I am sure he will be missed by many.
Dexter January 08, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Why can't they shoot the knife or gun out of his hand? Why can't the cops tase the suspects eyelids to temporarily cause blindness and then utilize a karate maneuver to disarm the weapon? Why can't the police throw a ninja star to distract the suspect then take him down with a judo chop? Why can't the police fly like superman? God the majority of people in this world are simply brainless.
M January 08, 2013 at 04:20 AM
It's amazing to me how people change the story to go with the day. It makes me ill to see the public smear Anthony's name in the mud when now people should be focusing on helping the family grieve. Shame on all of you!
Josh Goldman January 08, 2013 at 08:03 AM
Police are required to preserve life. If that means shooting someone to stop the threat, then they are required to shoot. A 10" knife is indeed a deadly weapon. Just slash someone's juggler and see if they will live. Poke a 10" knife into a chest cavity and see if some damage is done. The police very well have saved the couple's lives. Banta was high on meth or crack.
Chris Kapsalis January 08, 2013 at 01:29 PM
When you have to stop someone who is moving with a weapon in most cases you shoot for the middle of the upper body. Feet are small and move around and will not stop them all the time even if you got lucky and hit them . Shooting a weapon out of a hand is even harder. Maybe in rare cases or a sniper. But yes that is the movies. Sounds like they had to. You can be sad for the person who died and family and still understand why the police had to do what they did. I don't think it is fair to trash the police who's job it is to protect. If drugs or alcohol did not play a role then maybe he had a brain disorder that appeared suddenly from sleep. It can happen to anyone. But it a confined space and a crazed person with a knife, even a smaller knife, you would have no choice. And a knife does not just stab or cut, they can tear through your body and cut major organs and arteries, even you heart, neck. Knives are very lethal weapons and almost impossible to disarm by hand. And they had to protect the other people in the apartment. It's just a sad situation.
c5 January 08, 2013 at 02:54 PM
ok, looks like the rationale for using deadly force is now out there...the question being if this guy was generally not violent as it seems, what was the cause of this rampage. tragedy all around, for the victim, his family, and the police who were forced to use deadly force...but if this article proves accurate, they had no real choice.
Jenny J Starmack January 08, 2013 at 03:50 PM
I agree that it is difficult for a police officer to shoot someone "safely" - i.e., in the foot or leg or hand -Especially when they are being threatened. However, I have NO doubt that five or more shots were fired at this young man, probably more like ten. Certainly that is excessive. One shot would have stopped him, and probably would have let him live.
RBCruz January 08, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Jenny is right! Once in again in America, blasting someone with a gun is the "answer". WCPD could have used a taser or just backed off to reappraise the situation. If Banta was suicidal the police were Dr Death. Now those officers will have to live with the doubt.
WC-Independent January 08, 2013 at 06:02 PM
OK, the police 'back off', then the suspect turns around, runs to the rooms on the upper level and stabs both roommates to death.
J January 08, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Anthony didn't do drugs in the seven years I knew him so why don't you people just stop spreading those rumours because its despicable for you who didn't even know that young man to put your two cents in unless its for support to his family right now. And as far as everyone wanting to know why less lethal force wasn't even ATTEMPTED, I don't think sarcasm is really an appropriate response for that. There are other options before so many cops shoot that many times, try a tazer gun. Obviously I'm not saying they should have judo chopped the knife from him and I'm pretty sure no one else suggested they should have flown like superman either so stop being a moron please. I wouldn't expect them to hand wrestle the knife from him but to resort straight to shooting is why so many people who cared about this boy want answers. The article does say "preparing to charge" also, maybe that should be considered into this also.
M January 08, 2013 at 08:34 PM
As a member of a very sad family... I appreciate the support of Anthony. Unfortunately there seems to be many people on here who have nothing better to do then "troll articles" and torment families. Anthony was not on drugs, he was not a criminal, he had never been in trouble. Show some respect.
c5 January 08, 2013 at 09:13 PM
but if they waited until he did indeed charge he could have injured or killed one of the cops....
mikedude January 08, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Whether he was on drugs or not remains to be seen. It is certainly more likely than someone with no apparent signs of mental illness or mental anguish suddenly snapping one day for no reason at all. Either scenario is difficult to accept and the truth won't be known till long after Anthony has been laid to rest. If you're really a member of his family, why are you even reading online comments? It is only going to upset you. Disconnect and go focus on healing.
M January 09, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Because I'm trying to make people understand that I'm going to defend my nephew till the day I die. Also my own children need to grieve and all these reports are just hurting them more and more. Show us the right to privacy!
mikedude January 09, 2013 at 10:33 PM
You cannot claim the right to privacy when YOU are the one choosing to expose yourself to the comments of others. The details of what happened, including whether Anthony was on drugs, are going to be public. You don't have any choice in that. I suggest you learn to deal with it. The truth is going to be difficult to accept, particularly because his actions were so out of character, but your family must be prepared to accept it. To deny the truth of what happened, whatever that may be, is not healthy.
Josh Goldman January 10, 2013 at 07:59 AM
Correct. Many of his friends do not want to know the truth. Banta was probably a meth-head addict or a crack addict. We need glasnost. Transparency. Don't sweep the evidence under the carpet please.
CC January 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM
I think Jenny is right, also, I feel Cops now a days, use over kill. There have been many, many reports of officers shooing someone to death, that either had a knife in hand, or had no weapons at all on them. I think Cops these days, have way too much of an Ego and feeling of they have power so they can't be touched. Cops are suppose to Protect and Serve, well, it doesn't look like they are doing their job anymore!
Emily Henry (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Josh, we don't have the facts yet. Let's wait until the actual evidence is in. And please keep the conversation civil. Thank you.
Pikgitar January 27, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Why would anybody believe the cops? They are all liars when it comes to covering their own asses. I want to hear from the two other people who actually know what happened. Why are they not talking? Could it be that the WC cops are making sure they don't talk? Highly likely, I'd say.
Pikgitar January 27, 2013 at 10:52 AM
How about a little "turn about"? There has been nothing believable stated by the cops. Just because the cops say he was "preparing to charge toward them" doesn't mean there's even one iota of truth in that statement. I would really like to see the autopsy report. I would really like to get some cops under oath and ask them a few pointed questions. Then I would like to compare what the cops say to what the scene tells me about the truthfulness of what the cops put out to the public. Then I would like to re-ask some even more pointed questions. Most of you people who like defending the cops want to believe the cops actions were justified. That's just about as ridiculous as thinking that cops would never lie under oath. Anyone who believes that is a fool. It's called "rationalizing" with no logic or basis in fact.
Chris Nicholson January 27, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Om calm reflection, and with benefit of knowing this person's history, it now seems plausible that he was on drugs, had a spontaneous mental breakdown and/or was attempting suicide-by-cop. Also, in the tense milliseconds prior to the first shot, maybe the cops could have given him another half second or so to stand down. But when you have what appears to be a violent crime in process with an armed /deranged perp who will not back down, I think you take the shot when safe to do so. Doesn't lessen the tragedy, but barring really shocking new evidence, I find it hard to blame the cops.
CNET Activist February 15, 2013 at 08:37 PM
I know first hand how Walnut Creek Officers use threat of guns. I'd like them to follow through with the police report about the suspect from Hillside Covenant Church tried to run me over June 2012 -- I've been stalked, followed, and had my businesses targeted. They are effective, my attorneys have been threatened, beaten up and no attorny will take my case. The Contra Costa Bar informed that I cannot use moderate means, that no attorneys members are interested in representing me. Kinda of odd - the CCC Bar has hundreds of attorneys and I can't get to meet with one attorney. I'd say the system is rigged.
Pikgitar February 15, 2013 at 09:04 PM
As time goes by, just as the cops knew, people would stop thinking about about this. Now the cops can just let the case die. Anyone getting tired of waiting for the autopsy results? Anyone still thinking that the cops need more time to cover up whatever details they might need to hide, keep from the public. This whole thing looks just like all the other police cover-ups and unless there's something like a witness (or two) or perhaps a video to bring truth and transparency to the forefront. I myself don't ever believe anything that cops say. They are ALL LIARS when it comes to covering up their foul deeds and their buffoonery that gets them into trouble. Only a fool would ever believe a cop's testimony. I certainly hope the victim's family lights a bonfire under the cop's feet and keep knocking on their door until some real answers are given. I don't need anymore statements from the chief saying STUPID STUFF like " he was preparing to charge toward them ".....
Noelle February 15, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Josh...the only people who will be sweeping the evidence under the carpet are the WC Police. Happens all the time. And one question for you. How do you know he was a "meth-head addict or a crack addict"? Is it because you were there with him or because it takes one to know one?
CNET Activist February 15, 2013 at 09:35 PM
M- I appeared at the City Council Meeting in November 1st 2011 about Walnut Creek Officers who months earlier came close to using their guns on me. Sadly my comments fell on deaf ears. These officers know about my research, they know I've asked a lot of questions about cases and they've got something to hide. I am litterally starving - mentally worn down from nearly 20 years of police corruption, cops shooting people I know and friends being murdered - and hearing it's a coincidence. I seriously doubt Banta was on drugs - he may have been given something unknowningly as it's happened to me and has landed me in the hospital with near fatal results. http://contracostawatch.blogspot.com/#!/2013/01/walnut-creek-city-council-meeting.html

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