Thursday, March 6, 2008

Deputies shoot and kill man

Daily Sound Photo: Janelle Holcombe


A 64-year-old man was shot and killed by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies at his home yesterday morning after he confronted them with a handgun.
The incident began at 7:50 a.m. when deputies were dispatched to the man’s home in the 4600 block of Via Gennita on a domestic disturbance call.

Sgt. Erik Raney, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, said deputies arrived on scene and found the suspect, Donald George, on the back porch of his home armed with the weapon.
“The suspect confronted deputies with a firearm in his hand,” Raney said. “Deputies ordered the suspect to drop the gun several times.”
Raney said the suspect ignored the demands and walked back into his residence.
When George returned, he was still armed with the handgun, Raney said.
“During the brief standoff with deputies, the suspect again confronted the deputies with his handgun,” Raney said. “Deputies fired on the suspect, striking him several times.”
Raney said the number of shots fired and injuries sustained by the suspect are being withheld due to an ongoing investigation. He said initial reports from deputies described the weapon as being a revolver.
George was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he underwent surgery. The man succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter in the intensive care unit.
Raney said the names of the involved deputies are being withheld at this time. He said the deputies will be offered the opportunity to take paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation, which could take several weeks to complete. None of the deputies were injured.
Raney said the use of deadly force is a traumatic experience for anyone whose ever had to use it.
“Law enforcement officers go through their entire career hoping that they never have to use deadly force,” he said. “It No. 1 represents a life threatening situation for them and it’s traumatic mentally for anyone to be put in a position where they have to take a person’s life, even if it’s justifiable and legal.”
A criminal investigation is being held to determine the circumstances leading up to the shooting, while an administrative investigation will occur concurrently, Raney said.
The purpose of the administrative investigation is to determine if the actions of the deputies aligned with Sheriff’s Department policy.

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