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The Sonoma County coroner’s office has identified a man who shot and killed himself on a Santa Rosa street Friday as 55-year-old John “Kenneth” Wells. Wells shot himself in the head when police tried to disarm him after he allegedly tried to rob his roommate, Sgt. Steve Fraga said. Around 3:20 p.m. Friday, officers were called to the 600 block of Cherry Street for an apparent armed robbery attempt involving two roommates.
Fraga said Wells allegedly gave his roommate, Mark Hampton, 46, of Santa Rosa, a note demanding that he go to the bank and withdraw funds or he would shoot him. There was then a physical struggle between the two roommates, during which Hampton injured his hand, according to police. The gun was not discharged during the altercation, Fraga said. Wells then allegedly waved the gun in a threatening manner before putting it into his pocket, leaving the home and heading west on Cherry Street, Fraga said.
As officers approached the home they were told Wells had left on foot with the gun, described as .38-caliber revolver, and was walking toward Mendocino Avenue. As officers searched the area they saw a man resembling Wells walking north on Mendocino Avenue just south of Nason Street on the east side of the street, Fraga said. Officers parked south of where Wells was and told him to stop and show his hands as he approached the intersection of Mendocino Avenue and Nason Street, Fraga said.
At that point Wells was walking away from officers with his back toward them. Fraga said he was attempting to pull an item from his right front pants pocket as they ordered him to show his hands. Wells then pulled out the gun from his pocket and shot himself in the head, police said. Officers requested medical assistance and Wells was taken to a hospital. He was pronounced dead at 6:04 p.m., according to the coroner’s office.
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