Cloverdale officers shoot and kill suspected prowler

Cloverdale police officers shot and killed a suspected prowler behind a home early Saturday morning.

A resident on Garden Circle Way, across the street from the Cloverdale Fire Department on South Cloverdale Boulevard, reported seeing a prowler in the area at 1:46 a.m., police said in a news release.

When officers arrived, they found the suspect in the backyard of a home on the 100 block of the street holding an unidentified weapon, police said. The person “advanced at the officers wielding the weapon” and they “discharged their weapons to protect themselves,” police said.

Petaluma police, with help from Rohnert Park Public Safety, are investigating the shooting under the county’s officer-involved fatal incident protocol that calls for other departments to independently investigate such cases.

Normally the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in these investigations, but the department is busy assisting with the ongoing response to the devastating wildfires in the area, Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said.

On Saturday afternoon, eight detectives from Petaluma police, three Petaluma crime scene investigators and five detectives from Rohnert Park worked within the yellow line of police tape in front of a tan two-story house where the shooting took place.

Around 2:50 p.m., the sheriff’s “Henry 1” helicopter circled the area taking aerial photos.

Details about the suspect - identity, age and even gender - will be not be released until Monday, Petaluma Police Sgt. Paul Gilman said.

Gilman also would not reveal what type of weapon was recovered after the shooting, only saying one had been found. Police would not say if the suspect lived in the area or at the address where the shooting happened.

At least two Cloverdale patrol cars responded to the early morning call, Gilman said, but he would not release the number of officers involved in the shooting. The sergeant did confirm reports from neighbors that at least six shots were fired by Cloverdale police officers.

The names and ages of the officers involved in the shooting will not be released until their interviews are completed Monday, Gilman said. He would also not comment on whether or not the officers had identified themselves as police before they fired on the suspect.

“This is a pretty straightforward case,” Gilman said. “We’re not trying to hide anything, we just need to follow procedure.”

Edgar Medina, 19, who lives on the opposite side of the small residential circle from where the shooting took place, said he heard yelling before a rapid succession of roughly six shots.

Another neighbor, Jose Luis Salas, 60, said he woke up to the sound of six or seven shots. Salas said knew the family that lives in the house where the suspect was shot, and that there are no longer any children who live there.

Gilman confirmed there were no children in the house at the time of the police shooting.

“This is a really peaceful neighborhood with no crime,” Salas said in Spanish. “This is a surprise.”

Petaluma officers are interviewing witnesses, reviewing area surveillance video and obtaining search warrants for the property, Lyons said. They asked anyone with information about the incident to call Petaluma police at 707-849-1229.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or On Twitter @srcitybeat. You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nrahaim.

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