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Sheriff's detectives complete investigation into shooting death

  • 5/10/2007: B1: Richard DeSantis

    4/11/2007: A1: Richard DeSantis

    PC: Richard DeSantis was shot by Santa Rosa Police monday April 9, 2007. Credit family photo. less than 1" wide

Sonoma County sheriff?s detectives have submitted to prosecutors their investigation into Santa Rosa police officers? actions in the shooting death of an unarmed, bipolar man in his driveway.

Richard DeSantis, 30, died after being struck in the torso by a rifle shot and a handgun shot, an autopsy determined.

At least four officers responded April 9 to DeSantis? South Avenue residence in the Roseland area after his wife called 911 to report her husband had fired a gun into the attic.

She told dispatchers her husband was mentally ill and had been hearing voices and said she had ?secured the gun,? a family member has said.

Sheriff?s detectives investigating the shooting confirmed that police were warned DeSantis was having a mental health crisis, but said the officers didn?t know if he was still armed when they confronted him.

According to police, family and witness statements, DeSantis initially complied with officers? orders to lie on the ground, but suddenly rose up and ran toward the officers on the west side of the driveway.

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Jerry Soares, a 24-year law enforcement veteran, fired a ?low-lethal weapon? trying to subdue DeSantis, sheriff?s detectives said.

When DeSantis kept coming, police said, officers on the scene fired conventional weapons, hitting him in the torso.

Sgt. Rich Celli, with 16 years of experience, Officer Travis Menke, with two years of experience, and Officer Patricia Mann, with one year of experience, each fired their weapons after DeSantis failed to stop.

Sheriff?s Lt. Rob Giordano said the report, which was submitted Monday, makes no conclusions as to whether the officers violated any laws, policies or standard procedures.


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