Father of 19-year-old fatally shot early Sunday in Pleasanton says shooting wasn't justified

Family hires celebrity L.A. law firm to challenge police claims son provoked altercation

The family of the 19-year-old accused burglar who was killed by Pleasanton police last weekend has hired a celebrity attorney to contend that the fatal shooting wasn't justified.

The law firm of Geragos & Geragos identified the decedent as John Deming Jr., a San Jose resident and a graduate of Piedmont High School.

Deming died early Sunday after an altercation with a Pleasanton police officer Daniel Kunkel, who shot him. According to the department, Deming was found acting "agitated and aggressive" outside Specialty Sales Classics, which sells antique cars on First Street.

Police said the man ignored police officers' commands, ran into the business and out through broken window, at which point he got into an altercation with Kunkel. Deming was shot and then taken to Eden Trauma Center via ambulance and died there.

His family's lawyers, Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos, stated Deming was an aspiring musician who was a member of his church band. The firm said Deming had never been arrested or in serious trouble before.

"My son Johnathon has always been a kind, loving, well-mannered and talented young man who respected others, loved music and had a boundless thirst for life," said father John Deming Sr. "Johnathon was fun, helpful and outgoing, he always did the right thing. He valued his friends and family and put others first. I will miss him every moment of every day."

Geragos, with an office in Los Angeles, has represented celebrity clients such as Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Chris Brown.

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28 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

So what is a wonderful kid like this doing breaking into Specialty Sales? Some times we are great people because we have never been caught??

5 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Why would the family hire such an expensive, high profile lawyer? It'll be interesting to see what they find in the young man's system. And, let's be honest - Mark Geragos didn't do much for Scott Peterson, did he?

1 person likes this
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

The family didn't "hire" anyone. The law firm is taking the case to (a) get a large cut of whatever settlement is made with the city, and (b) further its own "celebrity" status for high-profile cases.

Trusting that the Pleasanton PD has its bases covered on this one.

25 people like this
Posted by Jon
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Sad all the way around. We should not sit back and make comments or judgements before we know the facts. This kid might have been a good kid that was given drugs at a party. We have no idea. So Marie, let's wait till we know before we put our 2 cents in. Nonetheless, 2 families lives have been changed!

30 people like this
Posted by Dianna
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

To the Deming family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine your pain in the killing of your son.

10 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Let's just see what the facts are.

6 people like this
Posted by milton
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm

the family lawyer has his work cut out for him

24 people like this
Posted by Thank You!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Thank you to the officer who stopped an individual who could have harmed or killed a member of our community. My thoughts and prayers are with the officer who had to take such an extreme action to save not only his own life but to protect the citizens of Pleasanton. As it was, he was left unconscious from the attack. Residence of Pleasanton like to compare this town to a small town. I can tell you from experience the first thoughts and actions from a small town would be gratitude and support of the officer. Apparently in some people minds, Police officers are guilty before proven innocent. More concern is given to the criminal. This is not TV, The beatings/injuries Jack Bauer and the like take and jump back up for more are FANTASY to the extreme. In real life you CAN KILL WITH YOUR BARE HANDS and be in mortal danger from an unarmed person! My thoughts are with the family for this tragedy but I have to admit I have way less sympathy now that Geragos is involved.

24 people like this
Posted by Policelivesmatter
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm

One less burglar. His parents should pay for the window too.

11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm

The PPD posted a very detailed summary on their Facebook page of the facts of the investigation. Read it and you will see that every single option was used to stop this freak. He nearly killed the officer while the officer tried twice to tase him, the officer finally had to shoot him to save his own life.

One dirtbag gone, no sympathy here. Hire whatever scumball lawyer you want, the facts will not show your son to be anything but a loser whose time to die had come.

29 people like this
Posted by Murder
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:11 pm

If he was unarmed the cop should be tried for murder

7 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

I have contempt for any opportunist lawyer wanting to suck up taxpayer dollars...A low-life!!!!
With every one of the recent 'lives matter' situations, as always, I will say again, "the talk" ALL parents must have with their kids is 1) STOP, 2)STOP, 3)empty HANDS UP, 4) empty HANDS UP....NO exceptions!!! and certainly NO running or walking away! period!! no exceptions. IF they've heard that every year on BD as teen-ager, until age 21 they should know the rules. IGNORANCE is no excuse. That is common sense for all. Race has zero to do with the rules. Sadly, many blacks burden their kids with their own OLD battles, rather than teaching the laws and rules to follow IF they are law-abiding kids today. Same applies in a car, STOP, SAY YES SIR, and keep open hands up on wheel. It's so easy to breed kids, properly raising them is something else.

34 people like this
Posted by Dianna
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:15 pm

I am so ashamed if these callous posts are really my Pleasanton neighbors.

24 people like this
Posted by Murder
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Cops deserve no more respect than anyone else. Many act like they have a chip on their shoulder

8 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Latest update - what are your thoughts now Jon

Crime Prevention Unit, Pleasanton Police Department AGENCY

UPDATE - Officer Involved Shooting Suspect Information:
Johnathon Patrick Deming, Jr., 19 years-old, Resident of San Jose

Officer Information:
Pleasanton Police Officer Daniel Kunkel, 8 year veteran On July 5, 2015 at a few minutes past 2 am Pleasanton officers responded to the report of a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics auto sales located at 4321 First Street in Pleasanton. The investigation into the incident has begun to unfold and has revealed many new facts. When officers first arrived on First Street for the burglar alarm they could see Deming inside the business as the front of the car dealership is all glass and completely lit for viewing of the cars. While inside, Deming threw a large floor jack weighing more than 50 lbs through a glass window, which landed more than ten feet away on the sidewalk near the officers. As Deming stood in the threshold of the business, a less-lethal bean bag round was deployed at him, but missed. Deming continued to refuse orders to exit the business as he jumped from the tops of many cars inside the dealership while screaming. Deming then jumped off of the cars and retreated into a part of the business where he could no longer be seen through the front glass windows. The sergeant on-scene requested allied agency assistance and the Livermore Police Department responded with personnel to assist.

Officers, along with a police service dog, entered the business announcing their entry and demanding that Deming cooperate. As the officers entered the main auto showroom area they found Deming sitting on top of a car. Several orders were given to Deming and he failed to comply. Several less-lethal deployments were made, all of which were ineffective. As Deming ran away from the officers toward the rear of the business, the police service dog was released in an attempt to prevent his escape. Before the dog could stop him, Deming exited the business through a broken window in the rear, believed to be his original point of entry.

As Deming ran through the broken window he ran past Officer Kunkel, who had been posted to the rear of the business. The officer ordered Deming to stop and he continued to run away so he deployed his Taser hitting Deming in the back. The Taser deployment was ineffective in stopping Deming as he continued to run. The officer began to chase Deming, continued running beginning to escape. The officer began to coordinate a containment perimeter with the other officers via his police radio when Deming suddenly turned and aggressively charged at him. Deming kicked Officer Kunkel in the stomach and began punching him in the head knocking him to the ground. Deming climbed on top of the officer and continued to repeatedly strike him in the face and head. Having hit his head on the concrete and also being struck in the head several times, the officer began to feel as if he was going to lose consciousness. In a last effort to stop the attack, Officer Kunkel used his Taser in Drive-Stun mode connecting with Deming. As the Taser deployment once again failed to stop Deming’s attack, Officer Kunkel, in fear for his life, drew his pistol from his holster and fired one round into Deming’s torso area. Deming continued to strike the officer who then fired two additional rounds, striking Deming at least once in the face.

Hearing the shots ring out, the other officers who were on scene ran to that area and found Deming on the ground with Officer Kunkel lying unresponsive next to him. Deming continued to resist the officers as they handcuffed him, after which they provided him medical aid. Officer’s tending to the injured officer were able to provide aid to him as he became responsive several seconds later. Deming was transported by the first ambulance that arrived and taken directly to Eden Trauma Center where he later succumbed to his gunshot wounds. The injured officer was taken in a second ambulance to Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton and later released. He is still under the care of his doctor as they work to determine the extent of his injuries. Officer Kunkel remains on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Video footage was captured by the surveillance video mounted throughout the business. All associated video is being viewed by investigators. Pleasanton Police Detectives are investigating the incident. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is also conducting a parallel investigation, which is normal protocol in an officer involved shooting. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office sent a large team of Crime Scene Investigators with advanced equipment to assist in processing the multiple scene locations in and around the auto dealership.

31 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Blown away at how cold people are. What if this was your child? Yes, he was shot and killed and like Jon said we don't know all the facts...SHUT THE you know what up! Have some compassion....The whole world has become GOD. A young man lost his life and I am sure the cop that shot him is suffering too. Not easy choices...Geeze people get off your high horses already!

23 people like this
Posted by bubba's friend
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

If you knew him you would know just like any other situation when police kill people they lie! Police lie to cover up so they don't go to jail themselves. Nice report Scott but how did you get ahold of a police report, btw your police reports no one saw but the officer and John and two can keep a secret if one of them is dead! I grew up with Bubba and his older sister was my friend my age bubba was my brothers age yes he's a kid kids make mistakes but to die no. Think what you want but I know the truth.

8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm

I agree this is a sad story all around. A family is mourning the loss of their son and a veteran police officer is sadly dealing with both emotional and physical wounds. This young man was the child of a reserve police officer, so I'm sure he knew the potential risks in resisting arrest.No need to speculate the reasons why, I'm sure the investigation will bring that to light. It seems most comments have displayed support to both sides of this incident, as they should in a compassionate society. While others, like to stir the pot and bring in issues of race which have nothing to do with the case at hand. I won't even bother mentioning those senseless comments.

At the end of the day, I hope the officer is able to heal from his wounds and return to his career and the family of this young man is able to accept the eventual results of the investigation and come to terms with their loss. God bless them all.

2 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

I think the video from inside of Specialty will be an interesting bit of evidence and may be hard for these high-powered lawyers to dispute.

I just hope the officer involved wasn't too badly injured. My thoughts and prayers go out to the officer and his family. This must be a difficult time for them.

Thank you PPD for keeping our community safe.

P.S. This happened after the 4th of July night at the Fair. That Fair just needs to go away already..........Just sayin'..........

4 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

@bubba's friend

If you know the truth, then maybe you can tell us what your friend bubba was doing in Pleasanton at 2am breaking into a business and jumping up and down on their cars? I presume that you at least don't dispute that part of the story.

Also, the Pleasanton police statement that Scott posted above is not confidential. It was a widely distributed press release. Here's a copy in the San Jose Mercury News: Web Link

6 people like this
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm

1)Don't break the law.
2)When you get caught listen to the police officers' commands.
3)When a officer tries to arrest you don't get on top of the officer and start slamming his head into the ground in an attempt to knock the officer out.

This tragedy would have been avoided if the suspect had followed those rules. Police Officers are people too that have families to go back to and they have a right to not be injured / killed. Police Officers don't need to wait until they are knocked out in order to defend themselves (and then potentially have their gun taken and used against them).

The Alameda DA's Office has no qualms in charging officers who break the law (see BART shooting). If there was any negligence I'm sure they will come out and say so, but everything points to a justified shooting thus far.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Thanks to PPD for continuing to protect our town, over 40 years I've been here and I myself appreciate what they have to deal with on a daily basis!! All you nay sayers and "pot stirrers" can pack up and go find another place to live, maybe somewhere that doesn't have a police force, or lock their doors no burglar alarms or cameras, someplace where the hoodlums and punks run rampant in the streets--- lets see how long you cry babies would last!! Maybe it's time for the parents to break out the wooden spoon on their "perfect kids". Who's paying for all the damaged vehicles at speciality??? Any of those high profile ambulance chasers wanting to take that one on??

3 people like this
Posted by Nope
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Long Time Resident, This kid got into trouble and even if it was the first time and out of character it sadly ended his life and negatively affected his families as well as the police officers. The Fair had nothing to do with it and should not "close" because of this. Why should the rest of the people suffer and lose an annual event because of this sad incident?

21 people like this
Posted by L
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm

what happened to due process? Oh wait, the young man is already dead.

1 person likes this
Posted by Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm

If such a great kid, why this? They looked at his mom, why not his dad? Apples fall not too far from tree. Being he lived at home maybe his parents can pay for damages if they can afford Garagos. How much money can a reserve officer make anyways? Was father involved somehow is laundering ill gotten gains? I think there is more to this than meets eyes. Psychotic break a no drugs use. Maybe parents have mental illness to and poor kid got. Bad jeans. His dad says he was church goer but so was that mass murder in South Carolina. Doesn't mean nothing but attempt to cast doubt against fellow police officers. Is mom a drug user? Interesting to see what they pull from her house. They should search dad property also since he may be hiding stolen items for son.
Sad for police officer and car owners. Off beaten path so this planned. Sometimes karma catches up with you and Linda should think about that.

13 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:05 pm


Can you share a little about your folks? I'd like to know what tree your apple fell off of with the poor "jeans". SMH.

6 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:07 pm


Above comment was for you. Guess my own view of myself is a bit inflated. No denial here. I am dying to learn about your "jeans" though.

Thank you for your initial post. I will be using it to further motivate my children to stay in school.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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