Sonoma County Sheriff releases video of shooting by deputy in Bodega Bay
The San Francisco software engineer accused of attacking a security guard, stealing his truck and then using it to strike three people during a drug-fueled rampage in Bodega Bay was shot by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy within seconds of the deputy’s arrival, a new video made public by the Sheriff’s Office shows.
The video, the first of its kind issued by the Sheriff’s Office, provides the public with an unprecedented view of the actions taken by the deputy and the man he shot moments before and after the gunfire rang out.
It was made public under a new law intended to expand public access to videos of deadly shootings and other uses of force by police, a response to demands for greater transparency from law enforcement agencies following high-profile shootings across the state.
The 13-minute video includes maps of the area, footage from private surveillance cameras on nearby homes, and audio from public safety dispatchers — none of which are required by the new state law. It is narrated by Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick, who explains the chain of events leading up to the shooting.
“I think what the people will see when they watch the video is just how quickly (things) evolve and how oftentimes we are put in situations that are just terrible,” Essick said Wednesday during a meeting with The Press Democrat editorial board and a reporter.
The final portion of the video is compiled from footage from the body-worn camera of Deputy Jason Pasero, the four-year employee of the Sheriff’s Office who fired his weapon during the July 4 incident.
It shows Pasero driving to the beachfront neighborhood, where he stops and climbs out of his patrol car. A white truck, identified by authorities as the one stolen by Betai Koffi, 32, of San Francisco, is sitting at a standstill up the street. A CHP officer pulls his car in ahead of Pasero and the white truck begins moving toward the CHP vehicle.
“Stop ... Stop,” Pasero yells, extending his arms in front of him to fire his gun, obscuring the camera’s view of the shooting. The first gunshot, one of several, is heard 11 seconds after Pasero stepped out of his vehicle, the video shows.
Pasero reports “shots fired” over his radio, walks closer to the truck and fires three more shots seconds later, the video shows. The sound of what appears to be a car accelerating, or revving, is heard in the background.
The video ends with Pasero approaching the truck and pulling a bloodied Koffi from the front seat of the still-running vehicle. He calls for medical help and places handcuffs on Koffi, who is still breathing and resisting officers, Pasero says.
Warning: this video includes graphic images that may be triggering for some viewers.
The footage was released under AB 748, a new California law that went into effect July 1, three days before the Bodega Bay shooting. It requires law enforcement agencies to release body-worn camera video when officers fire their weapons, or when they use other force that results in death or great bodily injury, within 45 days of the incident.
Agencies can delay the release in cases when the disclosure would “substantially interfere with the investigation,” such as by endangering the safety of a witness or a confidential source, the law says.