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Bakersfield man identified as gunman killed by police in Nipomo
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Bakersfield man identified as gunman killed by police in Nipomo

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A Bakersfield man was identified as the suspect killed in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers at a Nipomo gas station Friday, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

Scott Huffman, 42, was killed by responding officers after he shot off multiple rounds in the vicinity of the Vons gas station in the 500 block of West Tefft Street, according to Sheriff Ian Parkinson. 

No injuries to law enforcement personnel or bystanders were reported. 

Huffman does not have a criminal history, and officials have not determined a motive, according to Parkinson.

"I can say that [there was] early indication of some mental health crisis," Parkinson said. "[Huffman's family is] more or less a victim in this, as well. They lost a family member and certainly recognize there was some type of crisis that led to this." 

Detectives from the sheriff's major crimes unit are investigating the incident as an officer-involved shooting, along with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The incident is also under investigation by the Sheriff's Office for tactics and behavior, Parkinson said. 

The sheriff's deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Cipolla, and they are required to undergo counseling as the result of a traumatic event. 

The incident began around 11:30 a.m. when San Luis Obispo County dispatchers received 911 calls after Huffman fired multiple rounds in the parking lot of the Vons gas station, according to Parkinson. 

Two employees immediately locked the door after noticing Huffman, who was holding a handgun and allegedly fired several shots at the door's exterior. 

Huffman walked toward West Tefft Street and fired off several more rounds, hitting a Pacific Gas & Electric power pole that started a small fire, and hitting the passenger door of a passing Cal Fire engine responding to an unrelated call, according to Parkinson.

Huffman briefly stopped the driver of a black four-door hatchback vehicle and engaged in a conversation with its driver before the vehicle sped off. Investigators are actively looking for the vehicle and urge its driver to contact the Sheriff's Office at 805-781-4500.

Huffman stood on the median of the road, pointing his gun at motorists, before walking toward the grocery store, then back to the gas station, which he entered, according to Parkinson. 

The gas station's two employees and a witness ran into a backroom and locked the door while watching Huffman on security cameras as he fired off several more rounds inside the store. 

A nearby citizen observing the incident parked his truck directly behind Huffman's vehicle, blocking it in, Parkinson said. 

Three police units, including from the Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol, arrived on scene within six minutes of the initial dispatch calls. Officers shouted commands at Huffman before firing five shots at him, according to Parkinson, who added that Huffman fired in excess of 20 rounds during the entire event. 

Huffman, who was declared dead at the scene, was not wearing body armor, according to Parkinson, contrary to previous dispatch reports. 

Parkinson commended the truck driver and the two "attentive and well-trained" gas station clerks. 

"Although we don't encourage people to intervene, people have to make their own decisions," Parkinson said. "We really lucked out." 

A search warrant was served on Huffman's residence in Bakersfield, although Parkinson did not clarify when it was served or the location. 

There was a female passenger who was inside Huffman's vehicle and fled the scene when the shooting began, although she's not considered a suspect, Parkinson said. 

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The following is taken from the Santa Maria Police Department's calls-for-service log and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office daily arrest log. Those appearing as "arrested" are only suspected of the crime indicated but are presumed innocent.

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