TURLOCK, Calif. -- A man who allegedly beat an infant to death in the middle of a roadway Saturday night was shot and killed by a Modesto tactical flight officer, police said.
Investigators were trying Sunday to establish the relationship between the 27-year-old man and the dead infant.
The Stanislaus County coroner said the boy appeared to be between 1 and 2 years old based on his size, according to county sheriff's deputy Royjindar Singh.
"It's been a long night of wondering why, not only for the officers and the passers-by who stopped and tried to help out, but for anyone. Why would somebody do this?" Singh said.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call at 10:15 p.m. from an elderly couple about a man kicking a baby in the head on Bradbury Road near the intersection of Blaker Road, police said.
A helicopter crew was flying above Turlock when the call came in. When officers observed the assault taking place from the air, they decided to perform an emergency landing in a cow pasture near the road, police said.
A Modesto officer exited the helicopter but was unable to reach the road where the assault was allegedly taking place because of an electric fence.
The officer then shot the 27-year-old man who died at the scene, police said.
"With ground officers still several minutes away, they (helicopter crew) landed and intervened in attempt to save a life," Singh said.
The man had a child's car seat in the back of his four-door pickup truck, which caught the attention of the elderly couple because it was stopped in the two-lane road facing the wrong direction, Singh said.
As they got closer, the couple saw the man brutally beating the toddler behind his truck and throwing the child on the ground, according to Singh. Two or three other cars stopped, an unusual number to be passing through the remote area surrounded by a dairy, a cow pasture, a cornfield and a farmhouse, he said.
"What we got from witnesses is he was punching, slapping, kicking, stomping, shaking," Singh said. "They tried to intervene and get involved, but their efforts really didn't have an effect.
The suspect was engaged in what he was doing. He just pushed them off and went back to it."
The infant was brought to Emanuel Medical Center and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
The officer was placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice, police said.
The name of the baby boy and man have not been released.
Original Article- with video of news story