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Review finds SR SWAT team members believed Oakland murder suspect posed threat

Suspects killed by Sonoma County law enforcement in 2007

Feb. 23: Haki Thurston, an Oakland homicide suspect, shot Feb. 23 by Santa Rosa police as he fled a Cleveland Avenue motel where officers were helping Oakland police apprehend him.

March 12: Jeremiah Chass, 16, shot by sheriff's deputies as they struggled to disarm him during a confrontation in the family's van outside their Sebastopol home. Chass was having a mental episode.

April 9: Richard DeSantis, a 30-year-old unarmed, bipolar man, shot at his Roseland house by Santa Rosa police after his wife called 911 to report he was firing a gun in their home.

May 4: Luis Felipe Sanchez, suspected of selling drugs and violating parole, shot after firing on a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy during a May 4 stakeout in Rohnert Park.

Police officers were justified in shooting an unarmed Oakland homicide suspect earlier this year, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office said Friday.

The four SWAT officers who shot Haki Thurston 13 times as he fled from the Comfort Inn on Feb. 23 believed he was armed and dangerous and an imminent threat to their safety, District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said in a statement.

"After reviewing all the evidence and the totality of the circumstances," Passalacqua concluced that "the involved police officers acted lawfully."

The Thurston case is the first review of an officer-involved shooting to be completed this year. Four people were killed in confrontations with law enforcement officers in Sonoma County in 2007.

One advocate of stronger civilian oversight of the county's law enforcement agencies said she was not surprised by the findings.


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