One man is dead after what began as a suspected burglary and high-speed chase in Santa Rosa ended in an officer-involved shooting outside the Coddingtown Mall. Deputies responded at about 4:52 p.m. to reports of a burglary at the La Mancha Apartments on Old Redwood Highway in Larkfield. A woman there had called the sheriff’s office after her ex-boyfriend, whom she suspected of stealing jewelry, reportedly confronted her, sheriff’s Lt. Chris Spallino said in a statement issued late Tuesday. The name of the suspect was withheld pending positive identification and the notification of his next of kin, and the identity of the involved deputy is being withheld while the case is under investigation, Spallino said. The woman told a dispatcher with the sheriff’s office that the suspect was armed with a knife and had assaulted her a few days prior. When the first deputy arrived at the scene, the suspect took off past him, driving south on Old Redwood Highway. As the suspect attempted to evade the deputy, he barreled down the highway at speeds over 90 mph while recklessly passing on the left and right of other vehicles, Spallino said.
The chase slammed to a halt when the suspect crashed into a light pole just outside the Coddingtown Mall at the intersection of Guerneville Road and Range Avenue in front of the Sonoma County Public Library. Spallino said the suspect then stepped out of his vehicle and confronted one of the pursuing deputies. Rosa Hernandez, of Santa Rosa, said she was in the library when she heard a loud bang at about 4:30 p.m. She said she looked out of a window and saw that the Volvo had struck the pole. She said two Sonoma County sheriff’s vehicles blocked the driver from backing out and that he then exited the car. He ran to the passenger’s side of the Volvo and appeared to reach into his pocket when deputies fired shots, Hernandez said. Hernandez said it appeared the suspect was struck at least once. Spallino said the suspect acted in a threatening manner that caused the deputy to fear for his safety and the safety of others nearby, and that the deputy fired his pistol at the suspect, striking him at least once
in the chest. Another witness reported hearing at least one shot fired near the intersection. Deputies on the scene took measures to try to save the man’s life before emergency medical personnel arrived and took over. The suspect was then taken in an ambulance to Sutter Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. With the assistance of Santa Rosa police officers, sheriff’s
deputies secured the crime scene and contacted numerous eyewitnesses. By 6:15 p.m., more than a dozen Santa Rosa police and Sonoma County sheriff’s vehicles were still on the scene in front of the Sonoma County Public Library. The Santa Rosa Police Department was designated the lead investigative agency under a countywide protocol in which outside agencies investigate officer-involved shootings.
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