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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
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[CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun
    #13075412 - 08/19/10 08:54 PM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun
August 19, 2010 - MercuryNews.com

The suspect Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies shot and killed during a deep-woods marijuana farm raid was armed with a pellet gun, the Mercury News has learned.

And in the wake of the fatal confrontation, the sheriff's department has halted exploratory missions to find other illegal marijuana-growing operations pending a review.

Scouting deep within the steep, wooded wilderness of the sprawling N3 Cattle Ranch on July 21, three deputies shot Jose Penaloza-Soto, a landscaper from East Palo Alto. Deputies reported that the camouflaged 28-year-old did not drop his weapon when they spotted him and called out orders in both English and Spanish. In fact, he seemed to be aiming what clearly looked like a hunting rifle at a group of Alameda County sheriff's deputies who were also on the raid.

As officers advanced on the wounded man, he suddenly reached out to grab the dropped weapon and was shot once more, according to officials.

When they finally got to him, lying on a hillside of loose scree not far from a 18,000-plant illegal marijuana garden, Penaloza-Soto was dead. His weapon turned to be an .177-caliber air gun, loaded with pellets. Such weapons are dangerous, especially if shot at close range, but they are chiefly used for target practice and shooting small animals such as squirrels.

"They were convinced that it was a rifle," said Santa Clara County sheriff's Capt. Luther Pugh. "It is almost impossible to tell them apart, even if they had been closer. They can't take that chance."

Independent weapons experts interviewed by the Mercury News confirmed that it was virtually impossible to tell an air rifle from a standard rifle from a distance.

Later, sheriff's investigators found the remnants of a small, armed camp of marijuana farmers, including a loaded .22-caliber rifle, two other pellet rifles and a hoard of ammunition, including shotgun shells and bullets for an assault rifle. The other suspects vanished into the woods.

The story of the deadly encounter in the forest came out this week, as the sheriff's office continues its internal review. All three deputies are back working after an administrative leave, but officials are weighing whether there are ways they can mitigate risk that officers can face when searching the often rugged and dangerous backwoods areas for illegal marijuana growing operations

Pugh said sheriff's deputies will still respond to illegal activity involving marijuana farms, but that these specific kinds of exploratory scouting missions "are on hold."

Some in law enforcement believe that a safer strategy is announcing the eradication by loud flyovers or using sirens and loudspeakers to scare away the suspects before an eradication mission.

Last month's mission involved 11 highly trained deputies from Santa Clara and Alameda counties selected for their fitness, knowledge of tactics and tracking. And they couldn't be highly allergic to poison oak.

Starting near the Lake Del Valle campgrounds near Livermore, they headed for a section of Sycamore Creek, near where some ranch hands had seen what looked like irrigation piping. They slowly made their way through an area considered ideal for drug cartels to set up marijuana farms -- rugged and inaccessible.

When they reached Lamb Ridge, a steep fold over a small creek six miles in, Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. John Spagnola saw a man. He was standing on a hillside. He had a gun in a sling around his neck.

Alarmed, multiple deputies shouted out to the man to drop the gun and raise his arms. He seemed at first to comply. But then he raised the gun, as though to aim it at the Alameda County deputies, who were below him in the ravine.

From 40 yards away, two Santa Clara County deputies fired with rifles.

The sheriff's office has already identified the shooters as Devin Fontana, an eight-year veteran; Michael Damigo, an 11-year veteran; and Cregg Dibert, an 11-year veteran.

The suspect fell, moaning. One bullet had broken his leg; another had traveled up into his torso.

Another deputy, who was accompanying a medic, shot him from 15 feet away when he reached out and grabbed his weapon, according to Pugh.

Penaloza-Soto was shot five times, the sheriff's office reported, out of 15 shots fired.

Investigators are still unsure why the man aimed an air rifle at a group of heavily armed law enforcement officers.

"Why didn't he raise his hands?" said Pugh. "We just don't know what was in his mind."

Deputies estimate that there was about $60 million of marijuana ready for harvest within two well-hidden gardens nearby.

Other suspects at the scene ran, deputies believe. Deputies heard them crashing away through the underbrush during the shooting. They have not been found.

The dead man's family declined to be interviewed. But sheriffs reported that he was a Mexican national, here for slightly longer than a decade. He had worked for years with no criminal problems as a landscaper in the San Francisco area. Recently, his family reported, he had grown quiet and distant.

He would disappear for days at a time, they said, saying he was going hunting.


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Offlinelil_demented
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: veggie]
    #13075646 - 08/19/10 09:44 PM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Poor guy was just trying to make a living growing some ganja. What a shitty way to go.


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Offlineblujay
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: lil_demented]
    #13075656 - 08/19/10 09:46 PM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Though their basis to be out there was twisted, the police actions in this case were reasonable.


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Offlinetheshroom
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: blujay]
    #13076468 - 08/20/10 01:08 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Definitely.
They shouldn't have been there fucking with him, but he did point a gun right at the police, then after he was wounded tried to grab it again.


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OfflineIllyabo
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: theshroom]
    #13076500 - 08/20/10 01:15 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

he's a dead hero


--------------------
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Offlineimatree
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Registered: 09/13/09
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: theshroom]
    #13076599 - 08/20/10 01:40 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

theshroom said:
Definitely.
They shouldn't have been there fucking with him, but he did point a gun right at the police, then after he was wounded tried to grab it again.



Why shouldn't they be? Our national forests aren't for people to use as their grow ops. If they were just planting plants then coming back I wouldn't see it as a problem, but they stay and protect it with weapons. I like to camp in the national forests and I don't want to have to worry about a group of armed Mexicans.


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Offlinelearningtofly
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: lil_demented]
    #13076698 - 08/20/10 02:17 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

lil_demented said:
Poor guy was just trying to make a living growing some ganja. What a shitty way to go.



Growing in a national forest with a gun aimed at the police.

Are they supposed to say "hey! can we verify that your rifle is a real one instead of a very convincing copy?"


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OfflineIllyabo
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: learningtofly]
    #13076711 - 08/20/10 02:20 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

no


--------------------
Education and Recovery Based Sentencing
http://www.petitiononline.com/LERA/petition.html
Patient Right
www.viennadeclaration.com
Penitentiary can be traded for wit and creativity.


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OfflineGlenners
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: Illyabo]
    #13077313 - 08/20/10 08:37 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

I get how a bb gun looks like a rifle, but if all you heard was a little fucking click and no BOOOM! then it'd be easy to tell it's a bb gun.


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Offlinemakersmarc
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Re: [CA] Man fatally shot by deputies during pot raid was armed with pellet gun [Re: Glenners]
    #13077391 - 08/20/10 09:21 AM (4 years, 2 months ago)

It's coming right for us!


Hate to be the paranoid one here, but really?  This guy up and points a pellet gun at 5 armed men that already have the drop on him?  Cops have been pulling some pretty outrageous stunts lately and telling some interesting stories to justify themselves.  Makes it difficult to take anything they say without a handful of salt.  I can't help but to wonder if these cops, at least some of them, look at mexican nationals the way cops in the rest of the country look at dogs.  Just fuckin killing people because they .... can.


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