General Crime

Richard Shreckengaust suspected of kidnapping a woman shot and killed by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy after pursuit

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The Marin County man suspected of kidnapping a woman died when he was shot twice in the torso by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy after a pursuit late Thursday night, according to an autopsy. Santa Rosa police, who are investigating the incident, released details of the officer-involved shooting late Monday afternoon. Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry said the kidnapping suspect, 37-year-old Richard Shreckengaust, received the lethal wounds when the deputy shot him through the rear windshield of Shreckengaust’s vehicle.

Emergency medical aid was started immediately but Shreckengaust died at the scene, Henry said. The pursuit ended when Shreckengaust’s car went off Odd Fellows Park Road in the Guerneville area and collided with an embankment, Henry said. The woman Shreckengaust allegedly kidnapped immediately fled the vehicle, Henry said. Shreckengaust repeatedly refused orders to put his hands outside the open driver’s side window and surrender, and rolled up the window before a sheriff’s deputy could release a police dog, Henry said.

Shreckengaust then lunged toward the right of the vehicle and the deputy who was providing cover for the officer who was handling the police dog shot Shreckengaust because he feared he was reaching for a weapon, Henry said. Shreckengaust was in the front right seat of the car when he was shot, Henry said. Investigators found a four-inch folding knife, an eight-inch metal “stabbing instrument” and a small one-inch pair of scissors in the console area of Shreckengaust’s vehicle, Henry said.

There were no firearms or explosives in the vehicle, Henry said. The incident began when police in San Rafael were first alerted to the alleged kidnapping at 10:25 p.m. Thursday when the woman sent text messages to a friend saying she was being driven to Sonoma County against her will, authorities said. She later told investigators she had known Shreckengaust since January and agreed to meet him Thursday night. Santa Rosa police said the couple was not dating. In the moving car the two smoked marijuana, but the woman became afraid when Shreckengaust began acting strangely and talked about having explosives in the car, police said.

The woman said she asked to be dropped off in Terra Linda but Shreckengaust refused, kept driving north on U.S. Highway 101 and told the woman he had to bring her to Bohemian Grove, police said. When Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop Shreckengaust’s car, he told the woman “It’s on” and drove on state Highway 116 toward Guerneville, police said. Shreckengaust was able to twice avoid spike strips deputies placed in his path to end the pursuit and the woman tried to escape the car but it was going too fast, police said.

Shreckengaust drove onto Odd Fellows Park Road and smashed through a gate into the gated community, police said. He drove through a narrow gap between two buildings and smashed through two more gates to avoid a roadblock, police said. The woman told authorities she saw Shreckengaust smoke what she believed was a methamphetamine pipe during the pursuit, police said.

Shreckengaust’s car went off the road around 11:20 p.m. when he was unable to make a turn and collided with the embankment. Santa Rosa police said there were seven deputies, including two canine handlers and their dogs at the scene when Shreckengaust was shot.

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