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Deputies cleared in fatal Sonoma shooting

Sheriff?s deputies who shot and killed a man last year outside his Sonoma home were legally justified in using deadly force, the district attorney?s office announced Monday after a year-long review.

Craig Von Dohlen, 37, died from a gunshot wound after he was shot 10 times by four deputies on Dec. 6, 2008. At the time of his death his blood contained a ?toxic amount? of methamphetamine, District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said.

Passalacqua, who cleared the deputies in a statement issued late Monday, was not available to answer questions about the case.

?This was a tragic incident for both the Von Dohlen family and the deputies who were doing their jobs,? Passalacqua said in a statement. ?This incident is another example of the lethal combination of using methamphetamine and being armed with a gun.?

At the time, family members said deputies shot Von Dohlen then approached him while he was on the ground and shot him again. The family hired a lawyer to investigate whether excessive force had been used, but whether they filed a lawsuit couldn?t be confirmed late Monday.

Von Dohlen?s father said Monday that he wasn?t surprised by the District Attorney?s finding.

?What good is it going to do? They?re all in it together anyway. I have nothing to say,? said his father, John Van Dohlen.

On the day of the shooting, Von Dohlen?s father called 911 to report that his son was suicidal and threatening him. Deputies found the son outside his home on Napa Road holding a rifle. Investigators said Von Dohlen threatened to shoot the deputies.

?I will shoot them right now. I?m not going back to prison, they will have to shoot me,? Von Dohlen was quoted as saying in partial transcripts of the 911 call released by the Sheriff?s office.

Two deputies ordered Von Dohlen to drop the gun and get down, according to the District Attorney?s report. Instead, he screamed and charged up the driveway toward the deputies, according to the report. Deputies fired their weapons when Von Dohlen pointed a .22-caliber rifle at them, the report said.


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