Deputy shoots San Francisco man suspected in drug-fueled Bodega Bay rampage that injured 8

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A San Francisco man staying in a Bodega Bay vacation rental home went on a drug-fueled rampage Thursday night, stabbing a security guard and intentionally striking three pedestrians with a stolen pickup truck before he was shot by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy, authorities said Friday.

In all, Betai Koffi, 32, injured eight people prior to the shooting, including four of five longtime friends sharing a rental home with him for the Fourth of July holiday, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office news release said.

The rampage followed a day of drug use for Koffi, authorities said, and played out over just 15 minutes after 8 p.m. It began at the Bodega Harbour vacation home and spilled out onto neighborhood streets, where the security guard and three strangers were injured by Koffi before he was stopped in a volley of gunfire from the deputy, authorities said.

“He was driving through the neighborhood and ran over several pedestrians who were just walking and enjoying the evening,” Santa Rosa Police Capt. John Cregan said.

Koffi was hit by at least three rounds fired by the deputy through the windshield of the stolen pickup, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Authorities were not able to say definitely Friday how many rounds the deputy fired.

One of two women hit by the truck remained hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries, the Sheriff’s Office said. The security guard was treated and released on Thursday night. A third pedestrian, a man hit in the arm, was treated at the scene.

Koffi, identified on his LinkedIn page as a software engineer at YouTube, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and carjacking. He was in critical condition Friday afternoon at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

The outbreak of violence occurred in Bodega Bay’s largest residential subdivision, a mix of more than 700 owner-occupied and vacation rental homes. It came just before sundown on a July 4 that for Koffi involved several doses of LSD taken throughout the day, starting at noon, authorities said.

By evening, he had turned aggressive and “delusional,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.

One of the friends called police to the Swan Drive home at 8:07 p.m. Attempts to keep Koffi from leaving the home had led him to punch, stab with a pencil and choke several of them, the person reported. He then crashed a rental car into the home’s garage and took off on foot.

A security guard working in the neighborhood was the first to confront Koffi minutes after the emergency call. The guard encountered him several doors down from the Swan Drive rental and was stabbed by him in the chest with the metal end of a garden light, authorities said. The guard’s employer reported the assault at 8:19 p.m.

Koffi made off with the man’s pickup, which was unlocked and running amid the assault, and soon after hit a man and a woman walking together in the neighborhood, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The woman was seriously injured while the man was struck in the arm.

Koffi then drove off the road and after another man and woman who were walking on a bluff, the Sheriff’s Office said. He aimed the truck at the woman and hit her, causing significant injuries, authorities said.

Koffi continued driving off-road, hit a wall, entered a side yard of a home, then drove back out onto Pelican Loop Road, a bluff-top street that sits along the western edge of the subdivision overlooking the ocean.

He was met on Pelican Loop by the CHP officer and the sheriff’s deputy, who were parked alongside each other. Koffi turned the truck toward them and accelerated, the Sheriff’s Office said. The deputy, who had arrived just a minute before, left his patrol car to get out of the way and fired several rounds at Koffi to stop him, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The pickup continued to accelerate, plowing into the CHP car, authorities said. Koffi did not stop and the deputy fired several more rounds, leading the pickup to stop and allowing the deputy to detain Koffi and administer medical aid until paramedics arrived, the Sheriff’s Office reported. The shots were reported at 8:22 p.m.

The name of the deputy who fired his weapon was not released Friday. He has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for four years, according to a department spokesman.

The woman who was first struck by Koffi was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial by helicopter, while the other female pedestrian and the security guard were taken to the hospital by ambulance, authorities said.

None of Koffi’s friends required medical attention. The violence erupted a day after the group arrived at a rental home for the holiday. The victims included a woman who Koffi punched in the chest and side, a man he stabbed with a pencil, another man he choked and a third man who Koffi punched in the face, according to authorities.

Bodega Bay Fire Capt. Lou Stoerzinger said his crew treated injured people in three locations spanning at least 200 yards on Pelican Loop. Homes and vacation rentals line the oval-shaped street near the southwestern edge of the subdivision.

“It’s not something that usually happens in Bodega Bay,” Stoerzinger said.

John Stevens who lives on Pelican Loop said he heard popping sounds Thursday night and thought they were fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. Shortly after that, he heard an ambulance arrive and a helicopter land.

“It’s a quiet street and we hardly ever see emergency vehicles,” Stevens said. “On the few occasions it happens, it usually involves something in the beach below.”

Linda Gallanter said she saw officers swarm a stretch of Pelican Loop not long after she heard roughly five loud blasts in quick succession.

“Because it was a cluster, nobody thought it was shots. Everybody thought it was fireworks,” Gallanter said.

Her perception changed when she saw a uniformed CHP officer run across the front yard of the weekend residence she’s owned for two years. After that a group of cars with flashing lights drove past her house.

Officers eventually came to Gallanter’s home to ask if she and her family were OK, and if anyone there had seen anything.

Officers told her the front of her house may have been struck by a stray bullet. The spot was just a few feet below a window in the kitchen, where her granddaughter and daughter-in-law had been playing.

“That was concerning,” she said. “It’s strange because this is such a passive, quiet residential area.”

The Sheriff’s Office is overseeing a criminal investigation into the man’s actions. The Santa Rosa Police Department is handling a separate use-of-force investigation, and that report will be forwarded to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the shooting was justified.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or susan.minichiello@pressdemocrat.com.

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