KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (FOX26) — An investigation is underway after the Kings County Sheriff's Office says a man held a knife to a child's throat, causing deputies to shoot during rescue efforts.
It happened Saturday around 11:10 p.m. near the 7600 block of Houston Avenue in Hanford.
According to the Kings County Sheriff's Office, deputies got a report of a man chasing a child in the road.
When deputies got to the scene, they saw a man, identified as 35-year-old Edgar Espinoza of Hanford, and a child inside a pickup truck parked on the shoulder of the road.
Deputies say Espinoza is the child's father.
"Edgar had the young child in a choke hold and was holding an object, believed to be a large military style knife, to the child's neck," reads a news release from the Kings County Sheriff's Office. "The child was struggling to break free of Edgar and pled for help stating that Edgar was trying to kill him."
Deputies immediately attempted to rescue the child.
They broke the driver's side window and told Espinoza to let the child go.
One deputy grabbed the child and began pulling him out of the window, but Espinoza pulled the child back.
Deputies say Espinoza held the knife to the child's throat again, and one deputy fired several shots, hitting Espinoza.
"Upon being hit by gunfire, Edgar shouted 'kill me, kill me' while attempting to inflict injury to the child. Noticing Edgar was likely going to inflict serious injury to the child a deputy fired additional shots and was then successful in rescuing the child," reads the news release.
The child was safely removed from the pickup truck and taken to the hospital for injuries that were caused by the man, deputies say.
The child was later reunited with his mother.
The Kings County Sheriff's Office SWAT team approached the truck and found Espinoza's body.
A Kings County Sheriff's deputy hurt his hand while breaking the truck's window. The deputy was taken to the hospital and later released.
“It’s always a tragedy when somebody loses a life. But when somebody saves a life... I couldn’t be more proud of their actions. In my mind, they’re heroes," said Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson.
Robinson says Espinoza has a lengthy criminal history -- he had at least 14 mug shots on record.
Robinson says he had a history of domestic violence calls, and also faced charges for elder abuse, assault and burglary in October.
The incident remains under investigation.