For the second time in the last few weeks, Vacaville witnessed a police pursuit that concluded with shots fired and a suspect dead. While investigations are still being conducted as to the circumstances that led to the shooting, police officers claim that the suspect tried to run down an officer with their vehicle while threatening a few others as well. The chase occurred at a relatively low-speed in Vacaville early Thursday evening on July 18, 2013.
The circumstances that led to the chase involved a call made to the police early in the day on Thursday reporting a suspect of suspicious behavior. The caller gave a description of the suspect in a vehicle that some officers recognized later on that day. According to the report issued after the chase concluded, the officers waited until the driver exited their vehicle in order to further investigate the situation. After following the individual for some time, they attempted to stop the driver after an alleged failure to yield at which point the pursuit began.
One of the officers involved later said that the chase never reached above the speed limit, only giving limited information on the male driver who was probably in his late 20's. The driver refused to stop the vehicle even after other officers attempted to intervene in his path. At the final stop, which was near a spike strip, the driver exited his vehicle in what the officers at the scene describe as a threatening manner. While specifics have not been disclosed, the officers claim that the suspect wielded objects that were supposedly deadly but not firearms and came directly at them. The reporting officer stated that they felt threatened and opened fire on the suspect.
The suspect's name has not been released because investigations into the incident are still underway. While the officers at the scene are confident that they reacted to a reasonable threat, there are always some who question where fatally shooting a suspect was warranted. This particular occurrence was a concern because of the recent chase that ended in a similar manner. On June 28, Vacaville police shot and killed another young man who allegedly tried to run down officers during a traffic stop as well. In order to solidify the officers' testimonies, investigations are routinely conducted in order to ensure that police acted within the bounds of the law as they sought to fulfill their duties.
Criminal activity of any nature never warrants police brutality. While this may not necessarily be the case for this particular instance, people's rights and safety should never be sacrificed because of hasty decisions by police officers because suspects can be hurt and killed without good reason. To learn more about this investigation and the issue of police brutality, contact a Solano County criminal defense attorney from Maas and Russo.