Sunday, December 21, 2008

For unto us a child is born


"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9:6,7



source

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two Sonoma Young Men Seriously Injured in Car Accident

Two men injured in crash

By MARY CALLAHAN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
source

Published: Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 7:38 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 8:18 a.m.


Two Sonoma men were injured, one severely, when the car they were traveling in overturned on Roberts Lake Road north of Rohnert Park early Thursday, the CHP said.

The driver of the vehicle, William Sheehan, 23, was arrested for suspected drunken driving but remained hospitalized, authorities said.

CHP Sgt. Mack Lewis said Sheehan was driving southbound in a 1993 Ford Thunderbird at an unsafe speed around 1:555 a.m. when he lost control of the car while coming out of a curve north of the duck pond in Roberts Lake Park.

Neither he nor his passenger, Michael Adams, 22, was wearing a seatbelt, and Adams was ejected when the vehicle overturned, Lewis said.

He suffered moderate-to-major injuries, while Sheehan had major injuries - injuries Lewis said were compounded by the fact that neither was seatbelted.

“We could have definitely had one fatality out of this, if not two,” Lewis said.

Conditions updates on the two men were not available early Thursday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Police release report on Von Dohlen shooting

John Von Dohlan, talks to a chaplin after his suicidal brother was shot by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies on Napa Road in Sonoma, Saturday December 6, 2008. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2008

Fri 12/12 5 PM
Police release report on Von Dohlen shooting
Investigators claim he was reaching for gun when shot
By David Bolling Index-Tribune Editor
source

The Santa Rosa Police Department, now the lead agency investigating the Dec. 6 shooting of Craig Von Dohlen in the driveway of his family's Napa Road home, has released a preliminary report on its investigation to date.

Santa Rosa police investigators, working with investigators from the Sonoma County District Attorney's office, took control of the investigation under the county's "Employee Involved Fatal Incident" protocol. The four officers involved in the shooting are all on paid administrative lead pending findings of the investigation and psychological evaluations. What follows is a verbatim record of the report, edited only for typographical errors, including partial transcripts of the 9-1-1 dispatch tapes recorded during the fatal altercation. The times reported are from a computerized call record which time stamps each entry made by the Communications Dispatcher receiving the call.

All times are from Saturday, December 6, 2008. • 12:14 p.m.: Sonoma County Sheriff's Communication Center receives 9-1-1 call from 245 Napa Road. John Vondohlen said his son, 37-year-old Craig Von Dohlen, was threatening to kill himself and was in possession of a loaded .22 caliber rifle.

• 12:15 p.m.: John said, "Craig is still in the yard, still holding the rifle."

• 12:16 p.m.: John states Craig (is) 11550 (under the influence). The dispatcher noted that Craig is threatening to shoot deputies and commit suicide by cop. The dispatcher notes "Loud verbal in the background, he keeps saying he's not going back to prison." • 12:17 p.m.: Craig is heard saying "I'm not gonna kill anybody but I'll kill a cop." The dispatcher notes that "Craig sounds extremely upset and angry." Sonoma County Sheriff's Unit E64 tells the dispatcher to advise the caller to have the family members exit the house.

• 12:18 p.m.: The dispatcher notes there is still a loud verbal altercation in the background. At 12:19 p.m., Craig is heard yelling "Let them take me out." E64 (a police unit) arrives on scene and requests an ambulance to stage. Craig yells to John "You have 50 seconds or I'll blow your head off!"

• 12:20 p.m.: Three additional deputies arrive on scene. They requested additional units and Henry One (Sheriff's helicopter).

• 12:21 p.m.: "Craig now saying he does not want to kill himself, but he wants someone else to do it for him."

• 12:23 p.m.: John reports Craig is still in the backyard still waving the gun around. The dispatcher asked John to step out front and the line was put down.

• 12:24 p.m.: The dispatcher noted "loud verbal now, possible shots fired."

• 12:25 p.m.: The dispatcher recorded "Deputies are telling RP (reporting party) to get back - RP keeps saying I'm not letting go."

• 12:28 p.m.: "Still a loud verbal between RP and deputies." E64 requests an additional deputy for the irate dad.

Based on statements of the involved deputies and witnesses, and review of the dispatch recordings involved in this case, we have learned the following:

Craig Von Dohlen, age 37, had been upset during the day for unknown reasons. He had a conversation with his 15-year-old son, and said he was planning on killing himself. His son tried to ask why and attempted to reason with his father to change his mind. Craig Von Dohlen continued to make suicide threats, and his son left the residence. Craig Von Dohlen grabbed a .22 caliber rifle and began arguing with his father, John Von Dohlen. Craig Von Dohlen threatened to shoot his father. John Von Dohlen phoned 9-1-1 at 12:14 p.m., reaching the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department Communication Center.

Upon the deputies' arrival, dispatchers asked John Von Dohlen to leave the house to safety. John Von Dohlen declined, and tried to talk his son into changing his course of action. Craig Von Dohlen refused to put down the weapon, and continued to make threats to kill the deputies when they arrived. These threats were heard over the open and recorded 9-1-1 line. As the deputies arrived, Craig Von Dohlen saw them and charged towards them holding the rifle. John Von Dohlen attempted to stop his son, but Craig Von Dohlen broke free from his father. Craig Von Dohlen continued his charge toward the deputies, aiming the rifle directly at them. The deputies fired several times without immediate effect. Craig Von Dohlen dropped the rifle and fell to the ground. He continued to attempt to reach for the rifle, which was still within his reach. The deputies continued to fire to prevent him from reaching the weapon.

After the shooting, the deputies' immediate concerns were to provide emergency medical aid and secure the weapon. They summoned the emergency medical personnel who were already standing by. They secured the weapon to prevent anyone else from reaching it. These actions required them to prevent John Von Dohlen from approaching his son. Craig Von Dohlen was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the intersection of Fifth Street East and Napa Road with the intention of transferring him to the Reach helicopter. Within a few minutes, it was decided to proceed via ground to Sonoma Valley Hospital where Von Dohlen was pronounced dead.

The deputies attempted to talk with John Von Dohlen and asked him several times to clear the area and allow the deputies to secure the shooting scene. John Von Dohlen continued swearing at the deputies and refusing to comply with their requests. These statements were also recorded on the 9-1-1 line. John Von Dohlen refused to comply with the deputies repeated requests to remain in one area outside the scene. He was uncooperative and distraught. The house and yard still had not yet been checked for additional persons or weapons. To protect John Von Dohlen and themselves, the deputies briefly handcuffed John Von Dohlen and placed him in a patrol vehicle. The Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy was immediately requested to provide emotional support to John Von Dohlen and his family.

Later examination of the weapon found it to be a loaded .22 caliber rifle. The rifle was taken as evidence and will be delivered to the Department of Justice Laboratory for forensic examination. Another firearm was located inside the house but is not believed to be involved in this incident.

Evidence at the scene and preliminary findings of the autopsy are consistent with the statements provided to investigators from deputies and witnesses.

The deputies present during the shooting were:

• Fletcher Skerritt, 2 years with the Sheriff's Department, total of 5 years (law enforcement) experience.

• Elena Transue, 11 months with the Sheriff's Department, total of 3 years (law enforcement) experience.

• Ron Hansen, 23 year veteran.

• Kevin Mullnix, 27 year veteran.


Craig Von Dohlen has prior arrests in Sonoma County, however there are no records indicating he has ever been to state prison. Von Dohlen was not currently on parole or probation, nor did he have outstanding arrest warrants.

For information on the autopsy performed on Dec. 8, refer to the Sonoma County Coroner's Office press release. Further details on Craig Von Dohlen's injuries and toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks. Any further inquiries regarding the autopsy should be directed to Sgt. Mitch Mana at 565-5070.

Anyone with additional information regarding this case can call the Santa Rosa Police Department Violent Crime Investigations Team at 543-3590.

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Opinion
Thu 12/11 6 PM
Learning from tragedy

The shooting death of Craig Von Dohlen on Dec. 6, was a tragedy for all concerned and an incomprehensible horror for Craig's father John, who not only had to witness the event while coming close to being shot himself, but was prevented by police from saying goodbye to his dying son.

And it would be unfair to conclude that the tragedy does not also embrace the officers involved in the shooting who did all too well what they were trained to do. No rational person can conclude that those four officers took satisfaction in shooting Craig Von Dohlen or that they were recklessly eager to discharge their weapons. What we can question is whether police training and tactics allow sufficient room for alternative scenarios to play out that would be less likely to result in loss of life. It's a fair question given the Sonoma County death toll from officer-involved shootings which now stands at 23 since 2000. Craig Von Dohlen was the third Sonoma County resident to be shot and killed by law enforcement officers this year and all three deaths involved subjects believed to be mentally ill or suicidal.

None of us are in a position to judge the decisions and the actions of the officers involved in the Von Dohlen shooting. It was a sudden and volatile situation involving a suicidal man with a gun who had clearly announced his determination to die. But it is fair to ask, and the public is entitled to know, what the details of the shooting are and whether the full measure of lethal force used on Craig Von Dohlen was necessary. We say that in part because the Sonoma County Coroner's autopsy report indicates the fatal shot was a penetrating wound to the head while the remainder of the wounds were to the lower torso, hip and thigh. The report does not indicate whether the head wound was inflicted by a shotgun or hand gun and the question is relevant because John Von Dohlen insists that, after the first volley of gunfire, one officer assumed a shooter's crouch and fired four rounds from his hand gun into Craig Von Dohlen's body. Whether those shots were necessary or lethal isn't currently known and we won't have an official account of the shooting until the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office release the conclusions of their investigation.

We hope that part of that investigation addresses the hypothetical danger from shots that penetrated the Von Dohlen home, one of which passed through the living room at chest level, ironically went cleanly through a photograph of Craig Von Dohlen's 15-year-old son, and continued into an adjoining room. Had the house been occupied that shot could have also been lethal. We would also urge that investigators look at the treatment of John Von Dohlen who alleges he was roughly and disrespectfully handled before being handcuffed and placed in a police car for more than an hour. We understand he was distraught, perhaps confrontational, but who wouldn't be?

In the meantime, we as a community might want to seek a public dialogue with law enforcement leaders to better understand their perspectives and experience, and to express to them the concerns of citizens who are stunned and angry over what they perceive as a sometimes excessive use of force. Such a dialogue could be constructive if it isn't predicated on the assumptions that the police are trigger-happy bullies and/or the public are ignorant fools. We all have something to learn from this tragic event.

- David Bolling

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December 12, 2008
Recent shooting death remains troubling to family
Jody Purdon
Special to the Sun
source

Saturday’s shooting death of 37-year-old Craig Von Dohlen is a tragedy to his family, friends and community members of this small town. Following an emergency 911-phone call, Von Dohlen lay dead, a victim of police gunfire. Exactly how this tragedy occurred is still a mystery to those around him.

In a press release issued by the Sheriff’s department on Tuesday, the autopsy revealed the preliminary cause of death to be multiple gunshot and shotgun wounds. According to the pathologist, Von Dohlen suffered ten gunshot injuries, two of which appeared to be grazing wounds. The majority of injuries were to the lower torso, hip and thigh area. The head had one penetrating gunshot which was considered fatal.

The Von Dohlens paint a picture of their son as a loving and gentle man, not without problems but doing his best to overcome those obstacles. Friends and neighbors corroborate this reflection and talk about what a close-knit family the Von Dohlens have always seemed. Broadway Market manager Al Robles said both John and Kathy Von Dohlen were stand-up employees. “Kathy is the best, “said Robles. “She’s worked for me almost forever. She’s always here and if I asked her to work on her days off she would. They are just a nice family and what’s happened is tragic.”

Saturday’s incident began when John Von Dohlen Sr. made an urgent phone call to police eliciting help for his suicidal son. At the time, Von Dohlen stated that his son was “high on drugs,” had a loaded rifle and was prepared to shoot him. The 911-call was recorded and the line remained open, detailing the confrontation. Several units from the Sheriff’s department were dispatched to the scene, which unfolded rapidly.

According to Von Dohlen, the 911-emergency phone call was precipitated by extremely erratic behavior from his son. “Craig was in the bedroom having a cigarette with his brother John and son, Kyle. They were in there for about 40 minutes, talking about Christmas presents and what not. Shortly after that, John and Kyle left,” said Von Dohlen Sr. “When Craig came out, he had a gun in his hand and said that he was going to shoot me.” The family would later learn of the conversation Craig had had with his son Kyle where he stated his intention to die. Kyle is reported to have told his father, “I love you. I know you have to do what you have to do. I’m really mad at you right now but I’ll see you in Heaven.”

The family is unsure what set Craig off in that short span of time. Initially reported as high at the time, Von Dohlen’s behavior could be chemically based or not, according to Captain Dave Edmonds of the Sheriff’s department. John Von Dohlen Sr. and his son, John Von Dohlen Jr. now say that Craig was not high at the time of the incident.

Regardless, Craig Von Dohlen, recorded on the 911 tape repeating phrases like, “I’m not going back to prison,” “I have to do it this way,” and “I’ve brought shame to the family name,” was considered a lethal threat by the responding officers.

Sheriff Cogbill acknowledged that the incident was potentially a little known occurrence called “suicide-by-police,” or its more technical term, Victim Precipitated Homicide. This phenomenon happens in 10 to 15 percent of officer-involved shootings, according to a 2001 issue of FBI National Academy Associates magazine. The method of suicide is to entice a police officer, in a self-defensive action, to shoot the victim. It is often later discovered in such instances that the weapon used by the subject was unloaded or non-functioning.

Edmonds had these comments. “I listened to the 911 tape and there were certainly statements that I heard that were consistent with this theory,” said Edmonds. “However, some of the statements I heard are also what would also be considered homicidal.”

Edmonds also shed some more light on the truth surrounding the “suicide-by-cop” ideology. “The term isn’t really accurate. An incident of this nature can’t really be considered a suicide because the purported victim is forcing someone else to respond – to save their own life by using lethal force” said Edmonds. “In this case, Craig Von Dohlen sounded and acted homicidal and had the means to take his own life. The actions he took forced the deputies to save their own lives by using lethal force.”

As the incident developed, the senior Von Dohlen moved from the house to the back yard where he proceeded to speak calmly to his son, attempting to get him to put the weapon down. He made the call to 911 when that seemed impossible.

When police arrived, Von Dohlen Sr. was in the house, having returned inside telling his son he needed a drink of water. “I finally saw the police around the hedges in front and tried to get them to come into the house,” said Von Dohlen. “They refused to come to me and kept telling me to come outside to where they were.”

From the back yard, Craig heard the exchange, rushed through the house, throwing open the screen door and ran at the four officers. They responded with a barrage of gunfire that felled Craig and hit the house, with one bullet passing through an exterior wall, an interior wall, and lodging inside a closet in the bedroom where Craig had been 30 minutes or so earlier.

According to Von Dohlen, even when his son lay dying, one deputy pulled out a revolver and shot him four times. Almost worse for him, he wasn’t allowed to be with his son, and was handcuffed and placed in a squad car until he could calm down. “They treated me like I was a criminal,” said Von Dohlen. “They wouldn’t let me call my wife or loosen the handcuffs which were biting into my skin.”

The younger Von Dohlen was transported by ambulance to Sonoma Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Neighbor Larry Brady, who lives on Fifth Street East, directly across the street from the field where the ambulance, REACH and Sheriff’s helicopters landed, refutes this information.
According to his timeline, the ambulance transporting Von Dohlen did not leave the scene for Sonoma Valley Hospital for quite some time, conflicting with earlier reports that the ambulance went straight from the Von Dohlen home to the hospital. Sonoma Police Chief Phil Garcia couldn’t be reached for comment.

At this time, the identities of the involved deputies and officers have not been released. All of them are Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department employees (the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department provides police services to the City of Sonoma under contract). In accordance with policy, all four employees have been placed on administrative leave.

Edmonds commented on the role of the authorities, “I think it is very difficult for the public to dissect what happens in an extremely chaotic situation. The truth is, when presented with an immediate lethal threat to themselves or someone in the vicinity, an officer’s training is to respond to alleviate the threat. The options become extremely limited. In terms of disabling an assailant without killing him or her, I’ve seen situations where an assailant has been disabled but is still a lethal threat.”

Questioned about the possibility of shots being fired at Von Dohlen after he was down, Edmonds went on to state that an officer’s responsibility is to deal with the threat. And while he is not able to speak on the sequence of events, he believes that if one, or more, officers continued to shoot, then the perception existed that there was still a lethal threat to those involved.

Toxicology reports as well as the overall investigation are ongoing by the Santa Rosa Police Department, and their findings may shed more light on exactly what happened and the reasons why.

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MORE
SF Examiner's articles on Craig Von Dohlen

Read Sonoma News Today Original Post on the Von Dohlen shooting

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Craig Von Dohlen: Suicidal Sonoman Killed by Police Yesterday with 10 Bullets

Scroll down for updates


December 12, 2008 UPDATE
Good to hear that this tragedy has created community outrage. Hopefully, the investigation and its outcome will not be swept under the political carpet.

Thu 12/11 6 PM
Coroner releases shooting report
By David Bolling INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR
source

When officers from the Sonoma Police Department and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department responded to a 9-1-1 call on Dec. 6, they couldn't know that in a matter of minutes 37-year-old Craig Von Dohlen would die in a hail of their bullets and that they would then become the objects of public outcry.

Von Dohlen had confronted family members that morning, including his 15-year-old son and his 66-year-old father, with the news that he had some terrible secret he couldn't share that would bring "shame on the family name" and that the only recourse was suicide. He spoke about "not going back to prison," and "they will have to shoot me," and told his son "the sheriffs are coming today. If they don't kill me I'm going to kill myself." He also told his father, "Dad, you've got like 50 seconds and I will blow your head off and then they will kill me." All those statements were captured over the telephone after the father called 9-1-1.

His father said Craig had never been to prison, although he had once spent two weeks in county jail on a minor marijuana charge. He said he had no idea what had happened to his son. But when law enforcement officers arrived at the Von Dohlen house, the violence erupted. The four as yet unidentified officers are currently on paid administrative leave while the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Sonoma County District Attorney's office conduct a separate investigation of the shooting, in compliance with the Fatal Incident Protocol followed by local law enforcement.
The shooting occurred when Craig Von Dohlen charged out of his parent's house, past his father, who said he was pleading with officers not to shoot, and straight at the officers, carrying what was believed to be a loaded, single-shot .22 rifle. In an account given by John Von Dohlen Sr., Craig's father, the officers waited until Craig was no more then six to 10 feet away and then opened fire with shotguns. Following the first fusillade, said the senior Von Dohlen, one officer stepped into a crouch and fired four shots directly into his son's body.

An autopsy report released by the Sonoma County Coroner on Tuesday, Dec. 9, revealed that Craig Von Dohlen had been struck with "multiple gunshot and shotgun wounds." The examining pathologist reported Von Dohlen received 10 gunshot injuries, two of which were "grazing" wounds. The majority of the wounds, the report said, were to Von Dohlen's lower torso, hip and thigh area. The one clearly fatal wound identified in the report was a "penetrating gunshot wound" to the head.

Public outcry at the shooting, in the form of letters and e-mails to the Index-Tribune and the I-T's Web site, www.sonomanews.com, followed quickly in the wake of statements made by John Von Dohlen Sr. that the shooting was excessive and that the shots fired by the officer with the hand gun were unnecessary.

The coroner's report refers to the head wound as being from a "gunshot" but does not make precisely clear whether that term is definitive, meaning the shot came from a hand gun, not a shotgun. Holes in a porch post and the wall of the house appear to be made by large caliber slugs indicative of a "riot" shotgun.

Press inquiries about the shooting are being handled by the Santa Rosa Police Department's Public Affairs Officer who said on Monday that her department's investigation could take "weeks to months."

Sheriff's Capt. Dave Edmonds said Monday, "The deputies were put in a terrible situation with a homicidal suspect. I think the threat to his father was very credible."

Edmonds added, "This was an exceedingly volatile incident. There was every reason to believe the suspect was very serious. It was the decedent who took on the deputies. I'm really thankful none of our staff was hurt. I'm hugely thankful the father wasn't hurt. We have to let the investigation continue."

John Von Dohlen Sr. was feet behind his son when the gunfire tore into Craig and barely escaped being shot himself. He remains deeply troubled by the level of force used against his son. He knows, he said, that Craig was suicidal, determined to die and that he provoked the officers. But, he concludes, "They shot him four times when he was down. It's not right."


READER COMMENT:
strum52@gmail.com wrote on Dec 11, 2008 8:00 PM:

" Maybe Sgt Edmonds should wait till after the investigation findings are released before conjecturing. Of course it's obviously a volatile situation. And the only result of pointing a gun at law enforcement [or in NY a wallet] will be to get shot multiple times. Whatever happened to 'disabling' and restraining.? None of us were there and likely none of us has had a rifle wielding man run at us.. I know a few of our Deputies personally and this is very much an abherration. This kind of confrontation happens little here. Perhaps over reaction equates with inexperience. A tragedy for a father to watch his son shot to death, one way or another. "


December 10, 2008 UPDATE
The police/sheriff shot him with TEN BULLETS! Why so many shots were fired. Mr. Von Dohlen states that after the initial gunshot wounds felled this son, another officer pulled out a pistol and fired another four shots. OUTRAGEOUS!

Sonoma man involved in fatal police shooting
Jody Purdom Special to the Sun
source

A 37-year-old Sonoma man is slain after a confrontation with police escalated into gunfire Saturday afternoon. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center had received an emergency 911-phone call from a resident of 245 Napa Road, just east of Broadway, in Sonoma at 12:14 p.m. The adult male caller asked for urgent help to deal with his 37-year-old son, Craig Von Dohlen, at that residence, who had allegedly threatened to kill the man and then himself with a loaded .22 caliber rifle.

This 911 call was recorded, and the phone line remained open throughout the incident as it unfolded. Through questioning, the reporting party explained that Von Dohlen had warned that he was not going to go back to prison. The reporting party said that Von Dohlen was “high on drugs” and the reporting party couldn’t communicate with him. More recently, family members were adamant that Von Dohlen was not on drugs at the time of the incident but are awaiting toxicology reports for confirmation.

Described as a gentle and loving man who wouldn’t hurt anyone, Von Dohlen’s family is in shock over the incident. Paulette Nolan, Von Dohlen’s ex-financee described him as a wonderful man with a solid heart. She understood Von Dohlen’s addiction issues but was quick to point out his loving family and solid support network.

Sheriff’s Dispatchers responded with several units to the scene. As personnel were responding the suspect made numerous threatening statements including:
“I will shoot them right now. I’m not going back to prison, they will have to shoot me”.
“I’m not going to shoot myself, they’re going to have to kill me”.
“I’m not going to kill anybody, but I’m gonna shoot cops because I don’t give a f___, they’re gonna have to f__in’ shoot me”.

When interviewed, family members recall Von Dohlen stating, “I’ve done something that has brought shame to the Von Dohlen name. I have to do it this way. It’s the only way to protect my family. I have to let them shoot me.” What that was remains a mystery.

Such behavior often precedes a so-called “blue suicide,” a slang term that describes a distressed party who engages the “boys in blue” in such a manner as to engender lethal harm to him- or herself.

Vondohlen sounded extremely agitated as the reporting party continued to try to reason with him. At one point, Vohndohlen replied, “Dad you’ve got like 50 seconds and I will blow your head off and then they will kill me”. As the heated dialogue continued Vondohlen remained tense, stating things such as “I will go to hell, I’ve got no choice”, and “all I’ve got to do is pull the trigger and it will work”.

Two Deputy Sheriffs and two Sonoma Police Officers arrived in the area within approximately five minutes, parking away from the residence to make a safe approach and taking about another five minutes to get to the driveway of the residence on foot.

The dispatch tape records the reporting party yelling to the approaching Deputies that his son is in the back yard. Soon after, Von Dohlen is heard aggressively screaming at the responding Deputies and the Deputies are heard loudly shouting commands back to him. Soon after multiple gunshots are heard. Von Dohlen was struck by gunfire. None of the responding Deputies or officers were injured.

Von Dohlen was transported by ambulance to the Sonoma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Neighbor Larry Brady who lives on Fifth Street East, directly across the street from the field where the ambulance, REACH and Sheriff’s helicopters landed, refutes this information. According to his timeline, the ambulance transporting Von Dohlen did not leave the scene for Sonoma Valley Hospital for quite some time, conflicting with earlier reports that the ambulance went straight from the Von Dohlen home to the hospital.

The Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chiefs of Police Fatal Incident Protocol was invoked, as standard procedure. The Santa Rosa Police Department accepted the lead investigative role, with the assistance from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

The identities of the deputies and officers involved have not been released. In accordance with policy, all four employees have been placed on administrative leave.

John Von Dolhen Sr., his wife Kathy and son John are distraught over the incident. They are also angry over treatment they received from law enforcement officials.



After the shooting, Von Dohlen was unable to be with his fallen son, instead handcuffed and placed in a squad car. According to the couple, Mrs. Von Dohlen, called home from her job at Broadway Market, was placed in a separate squad car from her husband and both were left sitting for a considerable amount of time before being released and informed then that their son was dead.

The family also cannot understand why so many shots were fired. Von Dohlen states that after the initial gunshot wounds felled this son, another officer pulled out a pistol and fired another four shots.

“Yesterday’s incident just outside Sonoma’s City Limits was tragic for the family and friends of the deceased and those public safety officers present,” commented Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown via email Sunday morning. “There will be a complete investigation by an outside agency, in this case the Santa Rosa Police force. Details will be forthcoming as the investigation continues.”
Some information for this story was provided by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

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Dec 9, 2008 9:56 pm US/Pacific
Autopsy Performed On Man Shot By Sonoma Deputies
CBS 5 CrimeWatch
source

SONOMA (BCN) ― The 37-year-old Sonoma man who was fatally shot by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies Saturday suffered 10 gunshot injuries including a fatal penetrating wound to the head, according to an autopsy Tuesday.Sonoma County coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said the preliminary cause of death was multiple gunshot and shotgun wounds.

Craig Von Dohlen was shot outside his father's residence at 245 Napa Road in Sonoma after his father called 911 around 12:15 p.m. asking for urgent help because his son was on drugs and was threatening to shoot a .22 caliber rifle, according to the sheriff's office.The father stayed on the line while sheriff's deputies were responding and the phone conversation recorded Von Dohlen saying threatening statements such as "I will shoot them right now. I am not going back to prison. They will have to shoot me," officials said.

Two sheriff's deputies and two Sonoma police officers arrived in the area within about five minutes and were told by the father that Von Dohlen was in the backyard.As they approached, Von Dohlen started screaming, which was followed by multiple gunshots, officials said.He was transported to Sonoma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.Coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said the majority of injuries to Von Dohlen were to the lower torso, hip and thigh area. Two of the 10 wounds were grazing wounds, Mana said."The injuries were consistent with bullets and/or shotgun charges being fired from law enforcement issued pistols and shotguns," Mana said.Minor scrapes, some in the process of healing, also were found on Von Dohlen's body, Mana said.No one else was injured.The four law enforcement employees involved were placed on administrative leave.The Santa Rosa Police Department is the lead investigative agency in the case.

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December 9. 2008 UPDATE

Mon 12/8 11 PM
'They're going to have to kill me'
Deputies kill man, father irate
By David Bolling - INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR
source

JOHN VON DOHLEN JR., left, hugs his father, John Von Dohlen Sr. on the porch Monday morning.
Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune


Craig Von Dohlen, a 37-year-old Sonoma man was shot and killed in his driveway by sheriff's deputies Saturday afternoon during a confrontation precipitated by a 9-1-1 suicide call.

Four deputies - two from the Sonoma Police Department and two from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department Valley substation - confronted Von Dohlen, who was moving toward them carrying a rifle after telling family members he was going to die. The shooting took place at approximately 12:25 p.m. in the 200 block of Napa Road after police received a 9-1-1 call from John Von Dohlen Sr., Craig's father, who told dispatch that his son had a gun and was threatening suicide. After the elder Von Dohlen hung up to intervene with this son, the 9-1-1 dispatcher called back and told him to leave the line open.

That allowed dispatch and responding officers to hear what was happening in the residence. A transcript of the call released by the sheriff's department reveals the younger Von Dohlen making numerous threatening statements such as: "I will shoot them right now. I'm not going back to prison, they will have to shoot me;"

"I'm not going to shoot myself, they're going to have to kill me."

"I'm not going to kill anybody, but I'm gonna shoot cops because I don't give a f***, they're gonna have to f***in' shoot me." At one point, Craig Von Dohlen can be heard saying, "Dad you've got like 50 seconds and I will blow your head off and then they will kill me." As the dialogue continued Craig Von Dohlen said, "I will go to hell, I've got no choice ... all I've got to do is pull the trigger and it will work."

A grieving John Von Dohlen Sr., told the Index-Tribune his son had been perfectly normal that morning. "We don't know what happened," he said. "I got up this morning and everything was fine."

Craig Von Dohlen's brother John Jr. said he visited the family house that morning at about 9 a.m. and woke Craig up. "We smoked a cigarette together, I asked what he wanted for Christmas. Nothing was wrong, nothing."

But sometime after John Von Dohlen Jr. left the house, Craig's emotions took a violent turn. Craig Von Dohlen told his 15-year-old son, Kyle, that he should leave the house immediately, telling him, according to John Von Dohlen Jr., "The sheriffs are coming today. If they don't kill me I'm going to kill myself."

According to John Sr., he was cleaning ashes from the living room fireplace when he heard Craig shouting at Kyle. Craig then appeared in the doorway with a rifle. "I told him, what are you doing with that thing? He said, don't worry, it's not grandpa's (gun). It was an old-one-shot .22 rifle. It probably didn't work."

"He told me, if I tried to stop him, 'I will shoot you Dad.' He didn't want anyone to try to stop him. I told him it can't be as bad as all that. He said, 'No, it's too late. It's done with, I can't talk about it, I don't want anybody to know about it.' We don't have any idea what it was, what he was talking about."

At that point, according to John Sr., Kyle left the house after saying to his father, "If you're going to do what you're going to do, just go do it. I'll see you in heaven."

For John Sr., the additional tragedy of that remark was that Craig "was the type of person that family came first, family was everything."

From that point forward events accelerated and collided with frightening speed and ferocity.

According to his father, Craig threatened to kill him if he tried to stop him. At one point in the argument, Craig disappeared outside the home in the family's large country compound.

John Sr. went outside looking for him and then saw law enforcement officers by the hedge bordering his driveway at Napa Road. The

officers, said John Sr., motioned for him to come to them. John Sr. motioned back for them to come to him, to help subdue his son.

At that point, Craig came crashing out the front door, past his father and toward the four officers. John Sr. ran after his son, pleading, he said, with officers not to shoot. He said his son was holding the rifle with the barrel pointed at the officers, who waited, he said, until Craig was only some six feet away from them. Then, John Von Dohlen Sr. said, at least three of the four opened fire with shotguns. Three slugs tore through the house, one ironically drilled through a photo of Kyle hanging on an opposite wall, before passing in to another room.

But most of the shots seemed to be on target, striking Craig in the torso. John Von Dohlen Sr. claims his son was mortally wounded and falling or already on the ground when one of the officers went into a crouch and fired four more rounds into his body with a hand gun.

John Von Dohlen Sr. called it "A senseless killing," and angrily charged that officers would not let him hold his dying son as he lay bleeding in the driveway.

While he pleaded with them, said John Von Dohlen Sr., deputies forced him out of the yard and one of them applied an arm lock so painful he thought the arm would break.

A deputy eventually handcuffed the father and placed him in a squad car as the investigation unfolded. He said his wife Cathy - Craig's mother - arrived from her job at the nearby Broadway Market but the two weren't allowed to console each other for more than an hour.

John Von Dohlen Sr., also said his son had never been in prison, but that "10 or 15 years ago" he had been sentenced to a short term in Sonoma County jail on a marijuana charge. He said he believed Craig had been drug free for some time and was not high on anything that morning.

Sonoma Sheriff Bill Cogbill acknowledged at the scene that the shooting "could be" a so-called "suicide-by-police," but said it was too early to confirm that.

Witnesses said they heard between 10 and 12 shots fired during the incident. Cogbill could not give a precise count and said, as with all officer-involved shootings, that a complete investigation will be conducted by another agency, in this case the Santa Rosa Police Department, along with the Sonoma County District Attorney's office.

Sgt. Lisa Banayat, public affairs officer for the Santa Rosa Police Department, said Monday that her department's investigation into the shooting could take weeks.

She said an autopsy on Craig Von Dohlen was due to be completed Monday, but that lab work could "take weeks or months." She could offer no further comments on the shooting or on John Von Dohlen Sr.'s allegations of excessive force until evidence is carefully weighed and a complete report is ready.

For a complete chronology of the tragedy and more details on the case, stay with www.sonomanews.com.


Reader Comments
The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of http://www.sonomanews.com/.

johnthomasgibson@roadrunner.com wrote on Dec 9, 2008 1:45 AM:

" Craig was a fellow class-mate of mine, and I considered him to be a friend. I am saddened for his family and friends, and especially for his father...obviously he did not mean for his son to get shot and killed when he called 911 for help.

However, when I heard reports of what had transpired last Saturday afternoon, it made me question whether or not Sonoma County even has a trained negotiator/counselor on the police force who is capable of handling crisis-type situations...weilding a bull-horn (if anything) vs a shotgun and a .45 calibur semi-auto handgun with a 15 round clip and having an itchy finger.

Growing up, we didn't call it 'Slow-noma' without good reason, and from what I personally recall from the local law enforcement...they were easily excited, to say the least.

I recall when I was a teen-ager, former Deputy Sheriff, Vince Sloan, grabbed my older brother Jim (about 16 at the time) by the throat, up off of the ground, and slammed him against the hood of his car, pinning him there by the neck, for Jim daring to ask him, 'Excuse me sir, don't you need a warrant for that?' That was just after Sloan and his side-kick (who he obviously wanted to impress) had pulled over our friend near to where we were standing and simply commanded her out of her car in front of us and began to rifle through her personal property. He later said that he saw her drinking a beer and was looking for the can in her vehicle, although he never produced the evidence to support his contention.

My point is that I fear that the 'Vince Sloan' mentality was passed down through the local ranks and the years and has manifested once again in this horrible tragedy that culminated in the killing of a local Sonoman who was obviously mentally distraught.

Within an hour of the occurance, I had several calls from people who were in the local vicinity to where the shooting took place call me and say basically the same thing; that Craig never fired a shot and that officers on the scene kept shooting him even after he lay on the ground. If that is true, Allah help you 'servents of the people' who possess a license to kill AND are above the law, morally and judicially as evidenced when you repetedly pulled the trigger on a downed man, assuming that's the way things transpired.

Ask yourselves, Mr. law-enforcement shooters that day, if you would have done anything differently if Craig had been your son, your dad, or your friend. Would you have tried to reason with him? I was 1000 miles away when this event took place, but I can't help but think that things could have been different when it sounded like during the recorded 911 call, there wasn't much delay at all in the time it took between the officers arriving at his dad's house, and multiple shots being fired. That just sounds like a botched, rushed, and sloppy job to me, without much regard for human life.

The main message I would like to convey here is that my heart goes out to all of Craig's family, John Jr., his parents, and all of his friends who knew and loved him. Such a needless tragedy and at such a young age.

Sonoma used to be such a small sleepy town with one stop-light at 5th St. West and Hwy 12 (when I moved there), and now it seems like it's gone to crap with murder, drugs, gangs, vandalism, thievery, traffic, and general mayhem. Someone please tell me I'm wrong and why...I would really like to like Sonoma again; maybe even to the point that I would consider returning someday. "

--- end ---

ORGINAL POST
Once again, the police are called to help a distraught family whose son is threatening suicide and what happens? The man is murdered with 10-12 bullets and the horrified father is taken into custody probably due to his outrage of watching these supposed 'peace' officers kill his troubled son! Yes, the man had a rifle but why not ONE shot to the leg or better yet, some suicide intervenion dialog? What are our police being taught these days: shoot to kill no matter what? VERY tragic and quite heartbreaking. We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ somehow brings healing to the Von Dohlen family.

Deputies confer in the middle of Napa Road shortly after the shooting. David Bolling/Index-Tribune



Sonoma man killed in police confrontation
Napa Road shooting
By David Bolling Index-Tribune Editor
source

An armed Sonoma man was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies Saturday afternoon during a confrontation outside a residence on Napa Road.

The shooting took place at approximately 12:30 p.m. after deputies from the sheriff's Sonoma Valley substation and the Sonoma Police Department responded to a call reporting that a man with a gun had said he was going to commit suicide. Four deputies parked their patrol cars down the street from the victim's address in the 200 block of Napa Road and approached the house on foot.

According to Sonoma County Sheriff Bill Cogbill, the victim, identified as 37-year-old Craig Vondohlen, then exited the house and confronted the officers with a .22 caliber rifle. Cogbill said it is still unclear who fired first but that "right now we believe" more than one officer fired at the man, who was mortally wounded. Vondohlen was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Cogbill acknowledged that the shooting "could be" a so-called "suicide-by-police," but said it was too early to confirm that.

According to witnesses, Vondohlen was living at the house with his father and stepmother and may have been distraught. The visibly upset father was briefly taken into custody and placed in a squad car after the shooting, but was released shortly afterwards and was not charged.

Witnesses said they heard between 10 and 12 shots fired during the incident. Cogbill could not give a precise count and said, as with all officer-involved shootings, that a complete investigation will be conducted by another agency, in this case the Santa Rosa Police Department, along with the Sonoma County District Attorney's office. Napa Road was closed between Broadway and Fifth Street East after the shooting. Because another agency was required to take over the investigation and some of the evidence was still in the street, a police presence at the site was likely to remain longer than would normally be the case. A knot of police officers swarmed the scene and at various times as many as 15 patrol cars were present while Henry 1, the sheriff's helicopter, circled overhead for more than half an hour. A sheriff's department chaplain also arrived on scene and offered counseling to a grieving family member who arrived some time after the shooting.

Further details will be available at www.sonomanews.com by Sunday morning.

--- end ---

December 8, 2008 UPDATE
Rewritten story by the Sonoma Index Tribune along with reader comments followed by the father's account from the Press Democrat and an SF Gate article:

An armed Sonoma man was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies Saturday afternoon during a confrontation outside a residence on Napa Road.

The shooting took place at approximately 12:30 pm after deputies from the sheriff's Sonoma Valley substation and the Sonoma Police Department responded to a call reporting that a man with a gun had said he was going to commit suicide. Four deputies parked their patrol cars down the street from the victim's address in the 200 block of Napa Road and approached the house on foot.

According to Sonoma County Sheriff Bill Cogbill, the victim, identified as 37-year-old Craig Vondohlen, then exited the house and confronted the officers with a .22 caliber rifle. Cogbill said it is still unclear who fired first but that "right now we believe" more than one officer fired at the man, who was mortally wounded. Vondohlen was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to Capt. Dave Edmonds of the Sonoma County sheriff's Department, adult male called 9-1-1 and asked for urgent help to deal with his son, Craig Vondohlen, at that residence. The 9-1-1 call was recorded, and the phone line remained open throughout the incident as it unfolded.

Edmonds said the reporting party advised that Vondohlen had a loaded .22 caliber rifle and was threatening to kill the reporting party and commit suicide. Through questioning, the reporting party explained that Vondohlen had warned that he was not going to go back to prison. The elder Vondohlen said his son was "high on drugs" and that he couldn't communicate with him.

Sheriff's dispatchers sent several units to the scene. As personnel were responding Vondohlen made numerous threatening statements such as: "I will shoot them right now. I'm not going back to prison, they will have to shoot me;" "I'm not going to shoot myself, they're going to have to kill me;" "I'm not going to kill anybody, but I'm gonna shoot cops because I don't give a f***, they're gonna have to f***in' shoot me;" and According to Edmonds, Vondohlen sounded extremely agitated as the father continued to try to reason with him. At one point, Vohndohlen replied, "Dad you've got like 50 seconds and I will blow your head off and then they will kill me". As the dialogue continued Vondohlen remained tense, stating things such as "I will go to hell, I've got no choice", and "all I've got to do is pull the trigger and it will work."

Two deputy sheriffs and two Sonoma police officers arrived in the area within about five minutes, parking away from the residence to make a safe approach. It took them about another five minutes to get to the driveway of the residence on foot.

Edmonds said the dispatch tape records the elder Vondohlen yelling to the approaching deputies that his son is in the back yard. Soon after, Vondohlen is heard aggressively screaming at the responding deputies and the deputies are heard loudly shouting commands back to him. Soon after, multiple gunshots are heard and Vondohlen was struck by gunfire. None of the responding deputies or officers were injured.

Cogbill acknowledged that the shooting "could be" a so-called "suicide-by-police," but said it was too early to confirm that.

According to witnesses, the victim was living at the house with his father and stepmother and may have been distraught. The visibly upset father was briefly taken into custody and placed in a squad car after the shooting, but was released shortly afterwards and was not charged.

Witnesses said they heard between 10 and 12 shots fired during the incident. Cogbill could not give a precise count and said, as with all officer-involved shootings, that a complete investigation will be conducted by another agency, in this case the Santa Rosa Police Department, along with the Sonoma County District Attorney's office.

Napa Road was closed between Broadway and Fifth Street East after the shooting and was expected to remain closed until as late as 6 p.m. Because another agency was required to take over the investigation and some of the evidence was still in the street, a police presence at the site was likely to remain longer than would normally be the case. A knot of police officers swarmed the scene and at various times as many as 15 patrol cars were present while Henry 1, the sheriff's helicopter, cBoldircled overhead for more than half an hour. A sheriff's department chaplain also arrived on scene and offered counseling to a grieving family member who arrived some time after the shooting.

Reader Comments
The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of http://www.sonomanews.com/.

clearfield@juno.com wrote on Dec 7, 2008 8:31 AM:

" If he was going to commit suicide and not harm anybody else, why not leave him alone until he finished the job? All those cops and a helicopter leads me to believe that the cops and deputies have too much time on their hands and go out once more like gangbusters. Four of them firing means that everybody got a turn. And don't give me any crap because of this posting, I am retired from law enforcement and quite well aware of "red hots" in the business. "



onehappybaby@netzero.com wrote on Dec 7, 2008 10:02 AM:

" In response to clearfield@juno.com~ "Why not leave him alone until he finished the job?" Hmmm...I can think of several reasons. First of all, as law enforcement yourself, if someone calls for help (in this case the father) you are required to respond. He apparently was not only afraid for his son but OF his son. Reread for statements such as "Dad...I will blow your head off...".
Second, again REREAD for statements such as "I'm not going to shoot myself, they're going to have to kill me".
He wasn't simply going to commit suicide. He didn't want to pull the trigger on himself.
Can I just say~ Thank God you are retired from law enforcement because with your stated opinions you would put other people at risk. With this 'red hot' who knows what else he may have done? He threatened his life, his father's life, the lives of the police officers and sheriff's deputies....in his state of mind he could have done anything... "



rgnaylor@yahoo.com wrote on Dec 7, 2008 11:15 AM:

" I first want to say that, unless this is a total case of coverup, this situation does not seem to fall under the category of SO many others in this county, where the circumstances and actions of the officers can not in all reality rationally be defended. Here is what "onehappybaby" says:

"First of all, as law enforcement yourself, if someone calls for help (in this case the father) you are required to respond. "

This is correct. The first mistake made was by the father because, especially in this county, unless one was living in a cave, they would know that calling the police into a situation like this will almost certainly result in death.

And he would know more than most whether this was one of those situations, since he was there, and he knows his son. I do not wish to give him any unnecessary grief here if he is reading this, but this is an issue that affects the community as a whole, not just him and his son. I am sorry if I cause him any more grief than he already has, but he should have left the premises, and waited and hoped that the thing diffused itself. This choice could have resulted in innocents being injured or losing their life, but not necessarily. There could be an alternative in this county in the future. I'll get back to that. Next, there is this:

"He apparently was not only afraid for his son but OF his son."

Of course he's afraid for and of his son. This does not mean that circumstances had gotten to the point where he was in imminent danger, and where he could not have escaped. onehappy is assuming too much. After all, the father was able to call the police without violent reaction by his son. That would tend to indicate, along with other things in this story, that the son was actually hoping for a confrontation with the police. It should have not been given to him. onehappy then says:

"Reread for statements such as "Dad...I will blow your head off...". "

Why do these police defenders always rely on the possibility that others are not as smart or cunning as they are? They're always critizing anyone with an opinion that, "you don't know all the facts." That's right! And we never will because the police will not release them, usually for their own protection. Now, the son's quoted threat above occurred AFTER the police were brought into it, not before. Again, it would seem that the son wanted a violent confrontation with the police, because there couldn't have been a more effective way to make that happen. onehappy, in an attempt to win this argument, is twisting things to make it look like the son definitely wanted to kill his father, which I would argue is false. He wanted to be taken out by the cops. We're not even sure if the son even fired one bullet! Next:

"Second, again REREAD for statements such as "I'm not going to shoot myself, they're going to have to kill me". "

Which is further proof that he wanted to be killed by the police, who are more than willing to oblige. The first thing to do was NOT to call the police, because that, more times than not, would negate all other possiblities other than DEATH. Next:

"in his state of mind he could have done anything... ""

That excuse would and can be used EVERY SINGLE TIME an unstable person with a gun threatens suicide. EVERY SINGLE TIME. This is one of many reasons why calling the police should not have been the first thing tried.

clearfield was stating that the way the police operate, with their training, and willingness and ability to bring in the death squad, and all the frills like the helicopter, etc., in a moment's notice only makes more certain the inevitablity of death.

I alluded to another way to handle this where we do NOT involve the police. Even if, through nothing short of a miracle, this man's life was spared, they would have most certainly tased the BeJesus out of him. And I can tell you from personal experience that the taser, especially the way local law enforcement use it, is torture. Torture is a dangerous precedent for our nation to succumb to, especially on our own people. If they "forgot" their tasers, they would have certainly BEAT the crap out of him, if they didn't just shoot him without killing him. And he could have ended up free once more down the road, and carried a resentment for authorities that would have resulted in an even greater tragedy, but I digress.

There has been discussion here in Sonoma County of a mental health emergency response team to accompany officers to the scene of incidents such as this. But it has never come into fruition. I don't know why, but I suspect that the police would not allow the mental health professionals and trained mental health clients (who have been there) to confront dangerous situations by themselves, and the police presence would defeat the purpoe. I say we develop and train such teams, and then dispatch them without the involvement of the police. This may sound risky, but family members of the mentally ill could get together and organize such a response system, and the cops would not have to know about it. If these family members care about their loved ones, and I know in most cases they do, then they should try to do this, as opposed to the most certain spectre of death that cops in this county have shown with that overwhelming capability and willingness to kill and JUSTIFY. "



cutiepie95476@hotmail.com wrote on Dec 7, 2008 12:26 PM:

" the son is my cuzin and i called him and he is devistated "



runnindiva@hotmail.com wrote on Dec 7, 2008 6:43 PM:

" If you read the Press Democrat article it states more about the threats to kill others and the rifle, so maybe you comment posters should not be so harsh till you know the entire story, which none of us do yet. Clearfield, are you one of the ones that went out retired on a bogus injury that our tax dollars are now paying? Or did you not get hired when the Sheriff's Department took over, you seem a little bitter! "

--- end ---


Grieving Sonoma father recounts shooting
Man whose rifle-wielding son was killed by deputies irate over his own detention

John Von Dohlen Jr. shovels gravel Sunday over bloodstains from his brother's shooting Saturday.
MARK ARONOFF / The Press Democrat



By NATHAN HALVERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
source


Published: Monday, December 8, 2008 at 4:23 a.m.

Standing outside his bullet-riddled Sonoma house on Sunday, disheveled with grief and shock, John Von Dohlen described the tragic events that led sheriff's deputies to fatally shoot his suicidal son.

Von Dohlen, a longtime grocery store manager and Boy Scout leader in Sonoma County, also expressed outrage that immediately following the shooting Saturday afternoon, he was forcefully removed from the scene, handcuffed, and put in the back of a squad car away from his family and dying son.

"I couldn't even hold my son and say a final goodbye," Von Dohlen said. "I couldn't even tell my wife what happened."

Sonoma County sheriff's deputies arrived at the Von Dohlen home at 12:25 p.m. after Von Dohlen, 66, called 911 to report that his son, Craig, 37, was threatening to kill him and then commit suicide with a .22-caliber rifle, according to an initial sheriff's report.

Excerpts from the 911 call released in the report paint a chaotic and explosive scene:

"Dad, you've got like 50 seconds and I will blow your head off, and then they will kill me," said a voice identified by the sheriff's department as Craig Von Dohlen. "I'm not going to kill anybody, but I'm gonna shoot cops."

He made his intent to die apparent: "I'm not going to shoot myself, they're going to have to kill me."

Deputies gathered at the end of the gravel driveway on Napa Road about 10 minutes after receiving the 911 call, according to the report. An ambulance was staged nearby.

The four deputies took cover behind a hedge at the end of the driveway, John Von Dohlen said.

Von Dohlen said Sunday he shouted that his son was in the back yard and the deputies should come and help, but the officers remained at the end of the driveway. His son then emerged from the front door with rifle in hand and charged at the deputies positioned about 30 yards away.

The deputies can be heard shouting commands at Craig Von Dohlen on the 911 recording, according to the sheriff's report.

John Von Dohlen said he tried unsuccessfully to intercept and stop his son from charging the deputies.

Officers opened fire, unleashing a barrage of bullets that peppered the front of the house and sent Craig Von Dohlen crashing to the ground only about 10 yards from the deputies.

John Von Dohlen said deputies continued to fire after his son collapsed.

"I don't know how I didn't get hit," Von Dohlen said. "I was chasing him when they started shooting."

Bullets pierced the front of the house, which was unoccupied. One bullet passed through the exterior wall, then through an interior family room wall, and lodged in a bedroom closet wall.

Craig Von Dohlen's 15-year-old son, Kyle, had left about 30 minutes before the shooting after his father flew into a suicidal rage, the older Von Dohlen said.

"We don't know what set him off, if he received a phone call or some bad news," Von Dohlen said. "Something just snapped in him."

He was not on drugs and did not take medication for any mental illnesses, Von Dohlen said. However, an excerpt of the 911 tape quoted Von Dohlen as saying his son was "high on drugs," according to the sheriff's report.

Craig Von Dohlen had lived with his parents almost continuously since graduating from Sonoma Valley High School, his father said.

A neighbor described him as "kind of an introvert, quiet and reserved but a pleasant person. He did odd jobs for us and was always a very, very hard worker."

Whatever set him off that morning, Craig Von Dohlen appeared bent on a suicidal path.

"He wanted to die for some reason," his father said. "He was waiting for (the deputies) to come so he could charge them."

The whole episode lasted only about 30 minutes, John Von Dohlen said. He called 911 shortly after noticing his son walking along the side of the house in a red-faced rage with the rifle in his hand.

Two deputies and two officers from the Sonoma police force, which is staffed by the sheriff's department, were involved in the shooting. The four deputies, who were not identified, were placed on administrative leave, which is routine in officer-involved shootings.

Santa Rosa police and the District Attorney's Office are conducting an investigation in accordance with Sonoma County's protocol for such shootings.

Von Dohlen said that immediately after the shooting, officers prevented him from approaching his son, who lay dying on the driveway.

"To deny me the right to hold my son while he was dying showed me total disrespect," Von Dohlen said.

A spokeswoman for the Santa Rosa Police Department said deputies likely were securing the weapon and keeping the path clear for medical personnel who were staged nearby.

"I can understand the father wanted to be close to his son," Sgt. Lisa Banayat said. "But when they loaded him into the ambulance, he was not deceased . . . the paramedics needed to have access."

Craig Von Dohlen was pronounced dead after arriving at Sonoma Valley Hospital, according to the sheriff's report. But a neighbor said the ambulance did not speed off after Von Dohlen was loaded in, giving her the impression he was already presumed dead.

While medical personnel were attending to Von Dohlen in the driveway, John Von Dohlen said he began cursing and asking officers how many times they shot his son. He wanted to know why they didn't try to use a Taser on him.

"I was in a daze," he said. "I was hurting real bad."

Then, Von Dohlen said, an officer approached him, twisted his arm behind his back and led him to a squad car, where he was handcuffed and locked inside.

"He threatened me twice that he was going to break my arm," Von Dohlen said.

He said he was kept away from his wife, son and other family members for the next several hours.

"They wouldn't even tell me if Craig was alive or dead," he said. "I couldn't talk to my wife. I couldn't hug her. I couldn't do anything."

Von Dohlen said he plans to file a complaint against the officer who handcuffed him.

Banayat said the investigation is ongoing and information about why Von Dohlen was handcuffed was not available Sunday.

Craig Von Dohlen is the fourth person to be fatally shot by North Coast law enforcement officials this year and the fifth to die in an officer-involved incident this year.

Most recently, 52-year-old Guy James Fernandez died after being subdued with a stun gun by Rohnert Park public safety officers Nov. 9. He was believed to have been under the influence of methamphetamine.

Of those shot by firearms, two were believed to be suicidal or mentally ill.

In January, 24-year-old mental health patient Jesse Hamilton was shot and killed by Santa Rosa police as he approached them with a large kitchen knife.

In March, 31-year-old Heather Billings was shot and killed by Rohnert Park officers when she refused to drop a straight-edge razor blade she was carrying as she approached officers.

In July, 63-year-old David Vestal was shot and killed by a Clearlake police officer after he leveled a shotgun at officers responding to a fight at the mobile home park where he lived.

Since 2000, 25 people in Sonoma County have died in officer-involved incidents, 23 of them from gunshot wounds. The remaining two were shot with stun guns.

You can reach Staff Writer Nathan Halverson at 521-5494 or nathan.halverson@pressdemocrat.com.

--- end ---

From SF Gate:

Sonoma man dies in police-related shooting
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
source
Monday, December 8, 2008


(12-07) 19:16 PST SONOMA -- A Sonoma man who vowed never to go back to prison was fatally shot during a police-related shooting Saturday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department reported.

Craig Von Dohlen, 37, threatened to shoot police officers who responded to a 911 call, apparently from his father, at 12:14 p.m., according to sheriff's officials. The incident was captured on the 911 tape.

The caller told police that Von Dohlen had a loaded .22 caliber rifle and was threatening to kill others and commit suicide.

On the tape, Von Dohlen can be heard threatening the two deputy sheriffs and two Sonoma police officers dispatched to the home at 245 Napa Road.

The officers encountered Von Dohlen in the backyard of the home, and multiple shots can be heard on the tape, according to the sheriff's department.

Von Dohlen was struck by gunfire. Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lisa Banayat confirmed Sunday that officers at the scene fired their weapons, but it wasn't clear whether their shots killed the man. She said she didn't know if Von Dohlen fired his weapon.

He was pronounced dead at Sonoma Valley Hospital. The deputies and officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, following protocols for officer-involved shootings. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

E-mail Jill Tucker at jtucker@sfchronicle.com.

--- end ---

December 12, 2008 UPDATE

Police release report on Von Dohlen shooting


--- end ---

December 8, 2009 UPDATE

Deputies cleared in fatal Sonoma shooting

By JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 at 7:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 7, 2009 at 7:59 p.m.

source

Sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a man last year outside his Sonoma home were legally justified in using deadly force, the district attorney’s office announced Monday after a year-long review.

Related Links:Meth's deadly influence Sonoma man shot by deputies had 'toxic' level of meth Man reached for rifle as deputies kept shooting Autopsy shows Sonoma man shot 10 times by deputies Grieving Sonoma father recounts shooting Sheriff's deputies fatally shoot armed Sonoma man Craig Von Dohlen, 37, died from a gunshot wound after he was shot 10 times by four deputies on Dec. 6, 2008. At the time of his death his blood contained a “toxic amount” of methamphetamine, District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said.

Passalacqua, who cleared the deputies in a statement issued late Monday, was not available to answer questions about the case.

“This was a tragic incident for both the Von Dohlen family and the deputies who were doing their jobs,” Passalacqua said in a statement. “This incident is another example of the lethal combination of using methamphetamine and being armed with a gun.”

At the time, family members said deputies shot Von Dohlen then approached him while he was on the ground and shot him again. The family hired a lawyer to investigate whether excessive force had been used, but whether they filed a lawsuit couldn’t be confirmed late Monday.

Von Dohlen’s father said Monday that he wasn’t surprised by the District Attorney’s finding.

“What good is it going to do? They’re all in it together anyway. I have nothing to say,” said his father, John Van Dohlen.

On the day of the shooting, Von Dohlen’s father called 911 to report that his son was suicidal and threatening him. Deputies found the son outside his home on Napa Road holding a rifle. Investigators said Von Dohlen threatened to shoot the deputies.

“I will shoot them right now. I’m not going back to prison, they will have to shoot me,” Von Dohlen was quoted as saying in partial transcripts of the 911 call released by the Sheriff’s office.

Two deputies ordered Von Dohlen to drop the gun and get down, according to the District Attorney’s report. Instead, he screamed and charged up the driveway toward the deputies, according to the report. Deputies fired their weapons when Von Dohlen pointed a .22-caliber rifle at them, the report said.

Methamphetamine likely fueled Von Dohlen’s rage, investigators said at the time. Pathology experts at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital found 0.24 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood in Von Dohlen’s body, a toxic amount considered just below lethal.

The deputies involved — Kevin Mullnix, Ron Hansen, Elena Transue and Fletcher Skerritt — were briefly put on administrative leave at the time.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Ken Brown: Sonoma's New Mayor


Ken Brown is now our new mayor. Host of the Morning Show, let's give him a big cheer - GO KEN!

Changing of the guard

World News Updates 12/5/08


Friday Dec. 5, 2008
http://www.thebereanchronicles.com/

VIDEO - Woman Says Following Bible Got Her Out of $500k Debt
"Just because we're broke doesn't mean God is."

Holiday key time for food, gun swap
Sponsors of the Goods for Guns program are hoping that the promise of a full belly will lure people to turn in their guns in exchange for $100 gift cards for Acme Fresh Markets.

Starwars style holographic 3DTV could be a reality by 2018, experts say (18 a hidden 666)
3D television system which would display holographic images floating in mid air - reminiscent of a famous scene from Star Wars - could be a reality in households within the next decade according to findings by a team of University of Aberdeen academics.

VIDEO - St. Louis Alderman Urges Residents To Get Armed
A Missouri alderman who says he is frustrated with police response to crime in his neighborhood is calling on residents to arm themselves to protect their lives and property.

Moscow's mayor links gays to spread of AIDS
Moscow has banned gays and lesbians from promoting their way of life because they can help spread HIV/AIDS, the Russian capital's 72-year-old mayor was quoted as saying on Thursday by RIA news agency.

Thomas Refers A Previously Rejected Case Challenging Obama Eligibility
U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked his colleagues on the court to consider the request of an East Brunswick, N.J. attorney, who has filed a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president.

New 'Bible': Heterosexuality is sin
'There are many different versions; I don't see why we can't have one'
A filmmaker who recently released an independent project about a formula that turns all heterosexuals into "gays" now has announced he's working on "The Princess Diana Bible" in which "God" ordains homosexuality as the better lifestyle.

32 Children Seized From Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, Over Alleged Beatings, Sexual Abuse
Child welfare officials have seized six children in Indiana associated with the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, while authorities in California visited a church compound affiliated with the jailed evangelist.

Conservatives form rival group to Episcopal Church
Theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province Wednesday, in a long-developing rift over the Bible that erupted when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

World News Update 12/3/08


Wednesday Dec. 3, 2008
http://www.thebereanchronicles.com/

Gitmo prosecutor who quit calls system 'appalling' and 'immoral'
A former US military prosecutor, who resigned rather than continue bringing cases against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in a system he found "defective" and "immoral," has spoken out for the first time in an interview with the BBC.

VIDEO - Anti-Religious Display At Washington State Capitol Raises Eyebrows
KING: With a nod to the winter solstice - the year's shortest day occurring in late December - the placard reads: "At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

34 Nigerian kids die from tainted teething mix
Food and drug agency recovers 2,000 bottles of formula, flies in antidote
Nigerian food and drug regulators on Tuesday updated the death toll to 34 in an outbreak of fatalities among infants given a locally made teething formula tainted with a toxic thickening agent.

Bush: 'I Did Not Compromise My Principles'
Looking back on his eight years in the White House, President Bush pinpointed incorrect intelligence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as the "biggest regret of all the presidency."

It's Time to Update the Pledge
Now, with the passing of the Rev. George M. Docherty, who died Thanksgiving Day at the age of 97, let us review why the phrase was added in the first place and why we should consider updating the pledge.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

World News Update 12/2/08


Tuesday Dec. 2, 2008
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Nuclear or Bioterror Attack on U.S. Likely by 2013, Panel Warns
The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study being briefed Tuesday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

President George W. Bush Receives 'International Medal of Peace' that Coincides with PEPFAR Milestone on World AIDS Day
Dr. Rick Warren Presents Award, Engages with President on U.S. HIV/AIDS Initiatives and Accomplishments at Home and Abroad During Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health
"No man in history – no world leader – has ever done more for global health than President George W. Bush, and I think we need to recognize that," said Pastor Warren.

China: 6 babies may have died from tainted milk
China's Health Ministry said six babies may have died after consuming tainted milk powder, up from a previous official toll of three, and announced a six-fold increase in its tally of infants sickened in the scandal — to nearly 300,000.

World economy 'weakest since 30s'
The United Nations says the world economy faces its worst downturn since the Great Depression. It expects world economic output to shrink by as much as 0.4% in 2009, due to a slump among developed countries - particularly the US and in Europe.

Pentagon to detail military to bolster security
Plan would dedicate 20,000 uniformed troops inside U.S. by 2011. There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.

FDA OK’s Communist Chinese poisoning your babies formula with deadly melemine
The Communist government of China and the FDA of the United States have decided to put the deadly poison melamine into America’s food supply.

Vatican thanks Muslims for bringing God back into the public eye in Europe
Vatican officials have long bemoaned the secularisation of Europe, where church attendance has dwindled dramatically in recent decades, and urged a return to its historically Christian roots.

Disney accused by Catholic cleric of corrupting children's minds
Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex, has accused the corporation of "exploiting spirituality" to sell its products and of turning Disneyland into a modern day pilgrimage site.

Is gay the new black? Marriage ban spurs debate
The gay rights movement entered a new era when Barack Obama was elected the first black president the same day that voters in California and Florida passed referendums to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying, while Arizonans turned down civil unions and Arkansans said no to adoptions by same-sex couples.

Microchips For AIDS Patients In Indonesia
Lawmakers in Indonesia's remote province of Papua have thrown their support behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips — part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease.

Be careful not to offend gay worshippers, Catholic priests warned
...Priests are also encouraged to put up posters advertising 'support services' for homosexuals, a move bound to infuriate many Catholics who believe gay sexual activity to be sinful.

VIDEO - American Rabbi & Wife Among Five Hostages Found Dead at Mumbai Jewish Center
The dramatic assault on the Jewish cultural centre, where two gunmen were holding hostages including a rabbi and his wife, began shortly after dawn Friday, with masked commandos abseiling onto the roof from a helicopter.

Evidence Mumbai Attackers were Anglo-American Intel Operatives
Gaffar Abdul Amir, an Iraqi tourist from Baghdad, saw at least two men who started the firing outside the Leopold Cafe. “They did not look Indian, they looked foreign. One of them, I thought, had blonde hair. The other had a punkish hairstyle. They were neatly dressed,” Amir told the BBC.

Virginians Slain in Attacks Lived Out Peaceful Ideals
Alan Scherr was an art professor with a comfortable life in the Maryland suburbs, but he spent 25 years studying Transcendental Meditation in a quest for something more. The search took him and his family to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where they shed their old life in Silver Spring and meditated in the complex of a New Age mystic.

Friday, November 28, 2008

World New Update 11/28/08


Friday Nov. 28, 2008
http://www.thebereanchronicles.com/

Racists and dominionists, part 1: A troubling history
Not only are many of the leaders of the dominionist group hateful in and of themselves to LGBT folks and others, it turns out that quite a number of them--including some of the leaders of the dominionist movement like the heads of the Family Research Council, anti-abortion groups, and even Ken Blackwell and John Ashcroft--are linked to some of the most virulent racist and domestic-terrorist groups in the US.

Four found guilty in citizen's arrest of Rove
"A jury on Friday returned guilty verdicts against four people who attempted to arrest former White House adviser Karl Rove during a fundraising appearance earlier this year in Iowa."

NYC Churches Ordered Not To Shelter Homeless
City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people.

Ready for Armageddon, church retails to the masses
They're still ready for Armageddon at the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religious sect that for almost two decades has kept a bomb shelter stocked for 750 people deep in a forest near Yellowstone National Park.

Miami Judge Rules Against Florida Law Banning Adoptions by Gay Parents
Miami Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled Tuesday there was "no rational basis" for prohibiting gays from adopting children.

VIDEO - Joran van der Sloot Now Tells Fox News He Sold Natalie Holloway for $10k
Radio Netherlands: Some time after the recorded interview was broadcast, Joran van der Sloot contacted Fox News and told them he had lied to the interviewer, Greta van Susteren.

Bush Pardons 14, Commutes 2 Sentences
President George W. Bush's latest list of pardons does not include some high-profile criminals who still hope the president will grant them clemency in his final weeks in office.

About Me

My photo
Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.