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Lake County deputy shoots knife-wielding man in Clearlake Oaks

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A Lake County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man armed with a knife Saturday night near a Clearlake Oaks dollar store, ending a fight that sent the deputy to a hospital with a fractured leg.

The altercation began about 9:50 p.m. in the Dollar General store parking lot on Highway 20, and finished in a creek bed just west of the lot, said Lt. Corey Paulich. The creek in Clearlake Oaks, a community about eight miles northwest of Clearlake, separates the retailer from a Caltrans maintenance yard.

Medical aid was provided to the man, but he died from his injuries at the scene, Paulich said. The Sheriff’s Office was still attempting to reach the man’s family Sunday afternoon before releasing his name.

The deputy involved was Wesley Besgrove, who has been with the agency for four years, and has been on patrol for a little over a year after spending the previous three in corrections, Paulich said.

Besgrove suffered several injuries, including a broken leg, bruised head and bite marks, Paulich said. He was treated at St. Helena Hospital in Clearlake and was eventually released.

“He had been in a pretty good fight,” said Sheriff Brian Martin, who visited Besgrove at the hospital. “His injuries turned out to be a little bit more significant than we (initially) thought.”

Besgrove has been placed on paid administrative leave. Due to the extent of his injuries, Besgrove won’t return to his patrol duties for “quite some time,” Martin said.

Paulich said the Sheriff’s Office can’t yet disclose more information about the incident Besgrove was responding to, including the number of shots fired or where the man was struck due to the ongoing investigation by the Lake County District Attorney’s Office. The criminal probe by the DA is to determine if Besgrove’s use of force was legally justified, Martin said.

The Sheriff’s Office is conducting a parallel investigation to decide if the department’s use-of-force policies were appropriately applied, Martin said.

Besgrove was the only deputy at the scene during the fight.

The Sheriff said he intends to release any video that was taken during incident to comply with a transparency law enacted in July that requires agencies to share footage from critical incidents within 45 days.

“I want to get the information out as quickly as I can,” Martin said. “We’re not going to have all the information for many months, but we can get a little out there and give people an idea of generally what happened.”

The agency’s last officer-involved shooting occurred in February 2018 when deputy Ben Moore shot and killed Jason Richard Sienze of Kelseyville, who brandished a firearm as he attempted to flee from officers in an stolen truck. The investigation by former Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson found Moore’s actions were justifiable.

You can reach Staff Writer Yousef Baig at 707-521-5390 or yousef.baig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @YousefBaig.

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