San Francisco man charged with attempted murder in drug-fueled Bodega Bay rampage

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A San Francisco man shot by a deputy during what authorities described as a violent, drug-addled rampage in a Bodega Bay neighborhood was charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other felony crimes Thursday in a rare hearing held at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Betai Koffi, 32, became violent and delusional July 4 after taking psychedelic drugs in the Sonoma Coast community where he had rented a vacation house with friends, Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said.

Koffi is accused of attacking a neighborhood security guard with the metal stake of a landscape light, stealing the guard’s pickup, and then trying to run down four people with the truck, including a woman who was seriously injured, according to the 10-count felony complaint.

The greatest injuries were to Koffi, whose rampage ended when Deputy Jason Pasero fired multiple shots at him, striking him at least once in the head, according to sheriff’s officials and his lawyer.

Koffi had been in a coma but was conscious and able to say a few words Thursday, his attorney, Steve Gallenson, said.

Koffi was aware he was being charged with crimes in a formal proceeding overseen by Judge Robert LaForge in a hospital room, but it remained unclear whether he fully comprehended or remembered what occurred, his lawyer said.

Koffi works in the tech industry and is a talented musician with a lot of promise and no past criminal convictions, Gallenson said.

“This is a real, real sad one,” he said. “This is a really good guy, and he’s lost so much. It’s just incredible.”

Koffi is identified on his LinkedIn page as a software engineer at YouTube.

Representatives from Google, YouTube’s parent company, have not responded to multiple requests for information.

Sheriff’s officials said the people hurt during the incident were recovering from their injuries at home, and the security guard, identified in court documents as Allen Eckles, had returned to work.

LaForge set bail at $2.35 million and scheduled a hearing for Aug. 14 for Koffi to enter a plea. Koffi will remain hospitalized until he is discharged by his medical providers — a process that will be long and extensive, his lawyer said.

Gallenson said Koffi is currently paralyzed on his left side and has only recently been able to speak. The charges against Koffi filed in Sonoma County Superior Court don’t include assaults on his friends, who sheriff’s officials said were attacked by Koffi when they tried to stop him.

Koffi and a group of longtime friends were vacationing in Bodega Bay for the holiday, and multiple people told investigators they used LSD on July 4.

But Koffi took four doses over the course of the day, whereas his friends told investigators they ingested a half-dose each, Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Sheriff’s officials said Koffi punched two friends, stabbed another and briefly choked a fourth. He then tried to run some of his friends over before they called 911.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com.

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