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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Thursday August 10th, 2017 :: 03:18 p.m. PDT
Community

Sonoma County Sheriff's Detectives release information on Santa Rosa officer involved shooting.

This press release is to provide additional information pertaining to the officer involved shooting investigation that involved the Santa Rosa Police Department, which occurred on August 5th, 2017.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is releasing this information as the lead investigative agency. Other law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation include Petaluma Police Department, Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

The following is a summary of events as we now know them-

On Saturday, August 5, 2017 at approximately 5:58 am, Santa Rosa Police Officers were dispatched to a residence located in the 2400 block of West Steele Lane after a 911 call reporting that a resident there was causing a disturbance and “acting crazy.” The caller spoke Spanish and a translator was used. The caller requested a rapid response and relayed the man causing the disturbance was armed with a knife.

The first Santa Rosa Police Officer, Jeffrey Badger, arrived on scene at approximately 6:03 AM. The second officer, Nick Vlahandreas, arrived approximately 1 minute later. Both officers then approached the front door of the residence, which was open. They contacted two Spanish speaking males, one of whom was very distraught and had blood on his clothing. They were directed to a bedroom where the suspect, Pablo Garcia-Garcia, was last seen.

They entered the bedroom, identified themselves, and conducted a visual search of the room. The room was messy and cluttered with various personal items. The window to the room was wide open with no screen. This window led to the backyard. Officer Badger went to the backyard while Officer Vlahandreas remained inside the residence and spoke further with the stabbing victim. Although there was a language barrier, he was able to ascertain that a felony assault with a deadly weapon had in fact occurred.

As Officer Vlhandreas was speaking with the stabbing victim he heard noise coming from the bedroom in question. It was at this time Garcia was discovered hiding under the bed frame of a bed located in the room. Officer Badger returned inside to the bedroom where he and Officer Vlahandreas began a dialogue with Garcia, and removed mattresses/bedding to expose him. At this time they discovered Garcia was completely naked, acting odd/bizarre, and armed with a 12” kitchen knife. See attached picture.

We now know the following after reviewing the officer’s body worn camera footage and interviewing the involved officer’s-

From the time officers located Garcia hiding under the bed frame in his bedroom, to the time when the shooting occurred, is approximately 7 minutes. During that time Officer Badger and Officer Vlahandreas continually pleaded with Garcia in both English and Spanish in an attempt to deescalate the situation, and for Garcia to relinquish the knife which he continually brandished. Approximately 4 minutes after they first encountered Garcia, Officer Vlahandreas fired his Taser at Garcia. This appeared ineffective, and Officer Vlahandreas activated his Taser a second time, which also appeared to be ineffective. Garcia continued to be angry, aggressive, act oddly, tell the officers to leave (in English), and brandish the knife at the officers. Officer Vlahandreas then sprayed Garcia with pepper spray. Approximately 3 minutes later, Garcia stood up and charged the officers with knife in hand, coming within mere feet of them. Officer Badger then fired his Taser. This deployment slowed Garcia’s advance momentarily, but he never let go of the knife and was not incapacitated. Garcia appeared to fight through the electric shock of the Taser and within seconds continued his charge at the officers very rapidly.

Garcia exited the bedroom into the hallway very quickly as the officers retreated backwards. Officer Vlahandreas, fearing for his life and that of others, fired his 9mm Glock pistol 5 times. In this moment Garcia was able to make his way into the bathroom directly across from the bedroom where this incident occurred. The door closed behind him. It was unknown to the officers at the time whether Garcia had been struck by Officer Vlahandreas’ gunfire.

A third officer, Park McAllister, arrived and was just entering the front doorway to the home as the shots were fired. More officers arrived on scene and a Spanish speaking officer began a dialogue in an attempt to get Garcia to surrender. Ultimately a team of officers, armed with a riot/protective type shield, made entry into the bathroom and discovered Garcia had in fact been struck by gunfire and was on the ground still clutching the knife in his hand. Lifesaving efforts were performed however Garcia was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

AUTOPSY-

An autopsy of Garcia was conducted on August 8, 2017. It was determined he was struck by 3 bullets, which were recovered from his body. The apparent entry of these bullets were as follows: 2 to his upper left torso (below armpit) and 1 to his lower left torso (hip area). This is consistent with Officer Vlahndreas’ positioning while Garcia charged out the bedroom door, Officer Vlahandreas retreated back and to Garcia’s left side.

Two other bullets were located in the flooring of the hallway where Garcia had been shot. This is consistent with the 5 casings located at the scene, and with the number of gunshots which could be heard while reviewing the officer’s body worn camera footage.

Blood and urine samples were collected at the time of autopsy. Preliminary/presumptive results indicate the presence of a central nervous system stimulant in Garcia’s system. We will not have final/conclusive results until final toxicology testing has been completed.

VICTIM UPDATE-

The victim of the stabbing which occurred prior to the officer’s arrival has been interviewed. He reported that prior to being stabbed, Garcia was acting delusional and seeing things that didn’t exist. When the victim tried to flee from the bedroom, Garcia stabbed him. The victim ultimately escaped out the bedroom window and was later treated for his injuries which were later determined to be non-life threatening.

This investigation is still ongoing. It will be forwarded to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office for review once complete.

Prepared By: Sgt. Spencer Crum
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Media Inquiries: 707-565-3941

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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

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