General Crime

* Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Fuston Identified as Deputy That Shot Suspect at

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The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has identified Sgt. Mark Fuston  as the deputy who fatally shot a Santa Rosa man who crashed his car in front  of the Coddingtown Mall after a police pursuit from a reported burglary in  Larkfield last month. The sheriff’s office delayed identifying the deputy who shot  49-year-old Albert Mike Leday Jr. on June 1 for more than a month, citing  concerns about potential threats to the deputy’s safety. Fuston, 50, is back on duty as a patrol sergeant, Capt. Dave  Edmonds said. He has been a peace officer for 18 years, 15 of them with the  sheriff’s office, Edmonds said.  Fuston was involved in two previous shootings.  In April 2000, he and another deputy, Tom Howard, fatally shot  31-year-old Erin McDonald in her Windsor home. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office’s investigation  concluded McDonald twice raised a plastic toy gun that was painted black at  the two deputies so she could commit “suicide by cop.”  McDonald was struck by four of the eight rounds in the dimly lit  bathroom of her home and died a few hours later at Santa Rosa Memorial  Hospital.  On Dec. 3, 2002, Fuston shot Andrew Valencia, 21, several times  after Valencia fled following a traffic stop in Windsor.   The sheriff’s office said Fuston saw Valencia moving about in the  car and reaching under his seat and looking back after the deputy stopped the  1986 Oldsmobile for driving with bright headlights and tailgating in Windsor.          The district attorney’s office said Fuston ordered Valencia out of  the car because he was concerned about the safety of two young children in  the vehicle. Valencia fled the vehicle, and during a pursuit, he stopped,  raised his left arm, concealed his right arm under his jacket and said, “I  have a gun too.”   Fuston shot Valencia several times. Valencia survived, and a gun  was found in the car, the district attorney’s office said. Valencia was later  convicted of a gang-related shooting and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  In the June incident, Fuston shot Leday when he appeared to be  reaching two times in his waistband for a weapon after he got out of his  smashed Volvo at West Steele Lane and Guerneville Road, according to Santa  Rosa police, who are still investigating the shooting.   Fuston fired three times, striking Leday once in the chest. Leday  died at the Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa.    Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Edmonds said this afternoon that each  officer-involved shooting undergoes “an exceedingly great amount of review”  and remains open until the district attorney’s office completes its  investigation.  Edmonds said law enforcement officers hope never to be involved in  a shooting, but it can happen over a long career and depends upon the  assignment.  Supervisors like Fuston often respond to the “hottest” calls and  major events, when such shootings have occurred, Edmonds said.

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1 Comment

  • Mark Fuston is a fine police officer.
    What does this say about our society that his safety would be at risk for performing his duty?
    Attaboy LT.

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