Pinole police shoot, kill man, 20

The body of "Mickey" Ray Welch, 20, lies along Pinole Valley Road after Welch was shot by a Pinole police officer in Pinole, Calif. on Friday, May 28, 2010.

PINOLE — A 20-year-old man on probation for felony drug charges was shot and killed by police Friday.   At 2:48 p.m., Pinole officers conducting a routine visit tried to speak to Michael “Mickey” Ray Welch at Pinole Valley Road and Brandt Street, Lt. Danny Hughes said. A confrontation ensued, and Welch was fatally shot.

Police released few details Friday evening, except to say that they had made contact with Welch in the past. Deputy police chief Peter Janke said investigators were still assessing whether Welch had a weapon at the time of the shooting. He would not say if the officers involved knew Welch or if they noticed him acting suspiciously.

Janke said Welch was on probation for a drug violation.

Officials from several agencies were going door to door late Friday in an attempt to gather more information about the shooting.

As officers investigated, people stood on the Plum Street bridge behind crime scene tape, gaping at the yellow tarpaulin that covered Welch’s body as authorities waited for the coronerl.

Lori Miller, a neighbor, was home making cookies with her 5-year-old son when they heard gunfire.

“It was really disturbing. This is not a neighborhood where that kind of thing happens. The police officer said, ‘Stop, freeze.’ I don’t know if the suspect had a gun. I heard eight shots.”

George Graham said he did not know Welch well. He said a friend who lives nearby heard the exchange between police and Welch.

“He said the police were trying to tell the guy to get down and quit fiddling around with what was in his hand,” Graham said. “They kept telling him to stop fiddling with it, and then I guess the kid did something.”  Welch’s father was summoned by police and was led away from the scene moments later, distraught.

Janke said Welch’s last known address was in El Sobrante. A woman who identified herself as a cousin of the suspect thought that he might have recently been living in Antioch or Pittsburg.

The cousin said Welch had lived a “pretty hardened life” and was interested only in “drugs and gangs.”

The shooting prompted a response that included Pinole police, officials with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Hercules Police Department. California Highway Patrol officers assisted earlier in the day, while a helicopter hovered overhead and a half-dozen police vehicles and a fire engine stood by.

Police cordoned off Pinole Valley Road from the Plum Street bridge to near Tennent Avenue.

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