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D.A. to review conduct of police, suspect in killing of bipolar Roseland man

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

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' residence in the Roseland area after his wife called 911 to report that her husband had fired a gun into the attic.

She told dispatchers her husband was mentally ill and was 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 in the driveway of his South Avenue home.

According to police, family and witness statements, DeSantis initially complied with 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" that shoots a plastic projectile 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 to prosecutors on Monday, makes no conclusions as to whether the officers violated any laws.


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