News


Man killed in Pleasanton shooting had no drugs in system

Coroner's autopsy shows no drugs, bullet wounds to face and abdomen

An Alameda County coroner's autopsy report of John Deming Jr. shows the 19-year-old did not have drugs in his system when he was shot and killed by a Pleasanton police officer in July.

An autopsy and toxicology report completed by the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau confirmed Deming died from bullet wounds to his face and abdomen, and he did not have any alcohol or drugs in his body when he died, including bath salts or synthetic marijuana. The autopsy was obtained by the Pleasanton Weekly on Thursday, after the coroner's case was closed on Dec. 30.

Deming was shot and killed by Pleasanton Police officer Daniel Kunkel in the early morning of July 5, after Deming allegedly charged the officer, who was responding to a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics car dealership at 4321 First St., Pleasanton.

The county District Attorney launched an investigation into the death in July and it is still ongoing, according to DA spokeswoman Teresa Drenick. Drenick said she cannot comment on the autopsy until the full investigation is complete.

"We investigate each case individually and thoroughly, and the investigation is completed in a timely manner but also within a timeframe that allows us to do the thorough investigation that is needed," she said.

In the autopsy, a coroner's bureau detective stated Deming's cause of death is deemed a "homicide." That designation is standard procedure for any shootings, said use-of-force expert Tim Williams, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer who serves as an expert witness in police shooting cases.

"Just because it's called a homicide doesn't mean someone will be charged with a homicide," he said.

In addition to the two gunshot wounds, the autopsy noted Deming sustained several bruises and cuts to his face, legs and arms, as well as a puncture wound to the back and a one-inch round torn bruise "with considerable hemorrhage" on his right thigh. The report did not state what might have caused those injuries.

Multiple attempts to reach the forensic pathologist who completed the autopsy were unsuccessful. Coroner's Bureau and Sheriff's Office personnel declined to comment on the autopsy or the cause of the injuries.

The fatal shooting on July 5 occurred after officers responded to a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics, a Pleasanton car dealership. When officers arrived just after 2 a.m, Deming allegedly threw a car jack through a window at them. According to police statements immediately after the incident, Deming did not respond to officers' demands to cooperate, and police fired beanbag rounds, sent a police dog after Deming and shot Taser rounds at him.

Deming then ran out through the back of the dealership, where he encountered Kunkel, according to police. Pleasanton police said Kunkel fired a Taser round at Deming, and Deming charged at the officer, knocking him to the ground. Kunkel then shot Deming twice, and Deming later died at Eden Medical Center.

The Deming family has retained Los Angeles-based law firm Garagos & Garagos to represent it in a possible civil suit against the city of Pleasanton. Kunkel continues on paid administrative leave from the Pleasanton Police Department.

Comments

104 people like this
Posted by here we go again
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:23 am

OK Diana, get on your soapbox and tell all of us, again, how this poor innocent little kid was only having a mental break and the officer should have just asked if he needed a hug. Oh, that might have been hard to do when this "kid" was pounding the officer's head onto the ground after being bean bagged, chased by the dog, tazed and still he would not stop. But hey, he should not be held responsible for his actions. Breaking into the business and throwing that floor jack through the window was just his way of saying that he wanted to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbya with everyone.

I guess some people think that drugs in his system would have given him an excuse for his actions. He committed suicide by cop and he was fully responsible for the ultimate outcome. Enough of the other nonsense.


156 people like this
Posted by Police coverup
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:12 am

After this happened, the Pleasanton police media machine went into overdrive to convince the community that this young man was a drug-crazed lunatic. It then went to one of the parent's houses with a drug search warrant.

What a pack of lies.

What we have here is an aggressive police force who acted like this young man was armed and had a few hostages when in fact he was unarmed and by himself. It refuses to release the cam device recordings and I suspect it is because like many of the police shootings on the news, this was a completely unjustified shooting of an unarmed young man, terrified by being surrounded by some sort of wanna be SWAT team, and attacked by a German Shepherd dog.

When is the police chief resigning?


72 people like this
Posted by Disfunctional City
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:19 am

Sad situation all around. Only the police officer knows whether it was necessary to shoot and kill this young man to stop him from whatever he was doing. Compassion is clearly something of the posters on here don't have.


117 people like this
Posted by sick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

@herewegoagain....
What has happened to you in your life that you believe that a kid with mental illness deserves to be shot? This hatred you spew will come back to you and it probably already is. Healthy people look at this situation and see how sad it is for both sides, for this kid, for his family, for the police officer who has to live with this. I'm sure he looks at it and wonders what he could have done differently. You are also mentally sick and lacking in something for you to be this sad and hateful.


164 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:48 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I think there are more people than just "Diana" who are concerned about use of force. Clearly there is much the public has not yet been told about this particular incident. The only conclusion I can draw at this point is that shoot to kill is the norm in many police departments, and it needs to change.


65 people like this
Posted by Mr Z
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

It is all too sad for all and broader community/world. The reality of this situation (like many other cities around us) is that if we want a 'safe' and 'orderly' nice little town, then we MUST have an aggressive police force that protect us all. This is NOT a police brutality case- let's get over it. This is a bad accident that was started by a young man for reasons unknown to all of us. Of course his family (like many others) are now looking to see how they can get rich off of this sad tragedy. I think it is his family that failed him, not the police or community. Far too many young people are dying around us for a no reasons at all, but I think you can trace most of it to family support or absolute lack of it !


111 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:13 am

@"Mr Z",

" I think it is his family that failed him ..."

You have no idea who or what failed him. Without facts or familiarity with the situation, you are just spouting off.

And what possible objection could you or "here we go again" have to better training for police for dealing with the mentally ill? That training can save lives.


32 people like this
Posted by Heather
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

Let's all calm down. An investigation is proceeding forward, as it should. Either these were justified actions or excessive use of force. None of us know yet. I do think the body cam information will be critical evidence to getting to the bottom of this. If we have a police officer who has used excessive force we want that person off the force and face the consequences but if not, we want to support our men & women out there that face life and death situations trying to (and doing a good job) of keeping us safe. Let's give both officer and victim the respect of the benefit of the doubt until we know all the FACTS.


145 people like this
Posted by Diana
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

This information supports that this unarmed teenager was in severe mental health crisis, he was responded to as a terrorist. When listening to the audio at the scene, there is a point that the officers understood John was agitated and talking to himself, they could see he was not holding a gun. At that point they should have reevaluated their assault response instead of forcing a confrontation, no one needed to die. PPD then put out a statement intended to represent John as a drug crazed criminal who deserved to die, that is not the case.
PPD are highly trained professionals, they are good men and women, this should not have happened. If they justify this outcome what will be different when your loved one is in crisis?
I would hope that PPD would take responsibility for this tragically wrong action.


131 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Whatever this young man's issue may have been, he did not deserve to die. Yes, we all want the police there when we need them, but a force that is too aggressive will end up hurting or killing the innocent in the name of protection. To suggest the family is out for money is actually something you don't know and a heartless accusation. They lost a son and PPD apparently is not providing clear and accurate information about the incident. The County Coroner has now confirmed at least one thing, there were no drugs in their son's system. Yeah, there could be a payout, like the $5 million Chicago spent to cover up their wrongdoing, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for an unwarranted and aggressive attack. There are better approaches and training for officers who do protect us. That training will keep officers (don't get too close, wait for backup, shoot an ankle?), citizens, and perps safer (at least alive to face court).


61 people like this
Posted by madscot
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

madscot is a registered user.

The kid did not deserve death. He did, however, provoke the entire incident. He had the power to end the situation quickly by simply raising his hands and surrendering to authority. It is tragic and sad that he chose to resist. Right or wrong harm would have not resulted if only he had given up. Cops are not therapists, they are not social workers. We do not live in a perfect world, they serve us protecting us and our property. They have a right to use extreme force when requited,they also have a right to use such to preserve their lives. How about arm chair quarter backs just clamming up and waiting for the courts to sort this out. Just a thought.


121 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We don't know why he resisted. No doubt there was something amiss that he was inside the dealership, and it definitely required a response. But we should question how this became a death sentence. Police officers play many roles, and evaluating the best solution where everyone walks away alive is one of them, or should be. Seems insincere to state that others should clam up after you state your own opinion on the matter.


151 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

DJohns is a registered user.

The job of a police officer brings them in contact with people in crisis, their job is to interact with people at their most vulnerable. They are train to do so and trusted with guns and given the responsibility to use judgement to preserve every life possible.

John Deming was in crisis, he was not acting with intent of malice. Psychosis refers to an abnormal condition of the mind described as involving a "loss of contact with reality".

PPD are highly trained professionals who must be held to a standard that preserves the safety of those they have sworn to protect. John Deming needed and deserved their help that night. No ones son should have died.


101 people like this
Posted by westwood12
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

westwood12 is a registered user.

@here we go again. Do you work for the police Department? Why so angry and quick to judge? Everything we have read shows aggression by the Police. Did you read the autopsy and how much trauma the teen suffered? We should be looking at the officer as much as we have looked at the teenager, unless you only care about one side of the story.

Not complying is not resisting or aggression, the teen was out numbered, out armed and probably scared for his life. If you shot a beanbag gun, Taser'd and sent a dog after me, I would run too. Seem like he was running from a pack of blood thirsty wolves to me..


16 people like this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Lessismore is a registered user.

westwood12 please go back to where very you came from.

I’m offended by you calling our police a pack of blood thirsty wolves.

Did this young man need to die? No.

But let’s not forget we wouldn’t be discussing this if it was not for his actions. The police didn’t tell him to break-in to someone’s business.

Did the young police officer fear for his live? Yes. You wrestle with someone over a gun and see how you feel.

Did the police make mistakes? Yes
This is an example of very poor police tactics.
Using the dog was a good call. The dog is used to lower the risk of both officers and suspects being hurt.
But only having one officer covering the point of entry was a big mistake. The officer in charge should have known the dog would push the suspect to the back of the building and back out to the point of entry. Where there should have been more than one officer.

But his actions started this chain of events. If he was the great kid people say, then why was he breaking and entering.


12 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I keep reading this individual was "unarmed". He threw a jack through a window and attacked a police officer. You're right he didn't have a fire arm, but this reasoning coming from the same crowd that has made the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" politically incorrect is laughable.

You are correct he did not deserve to die. You are incorrect on where you're placing ownership of that choice.


108 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

This discussion is disturbing, but responsible citizens must care about truth and accountability. We must require answers to what happened and what is being done to ensure a better outcome in the future. Morally we must care about the death of a teenager and his family.

The police statement says there was no other officer at the location of the shooting. The shooting took place just outside of the broken window, when John attempts to flee as the dog attacks him. The trauma on John's back and thigh is logically from the dog attack. On the 911 audio an officer identifies that “we’re” at the broken window 15 seconds before shots are fired. Since officer Kunkle is not a canine cop, the audio seems to indicate there was at least one other officer at that location when John was shot.

John Deming was in crisis, and not acting with intent of malice. Psychosis refers to an abnormal condition of the mind described as involving a "loss of contact with reality". Sadly a first psychotic break usually comes without warning, at around John's age. The job of a police officer brings them in contact with people at their worst and often in crisis. An officers job is to interact with people at their most vulnerable. They must be prepared to do so. They are trusted with guns and must be held responsible to preserve every life possible.

Crisis intervention training, trains officers to keep a safe distance, step back from a situation and use verbal de-escalation skills. CIT allows the disturbed person to calm down and not feel threatened, which could lead to panic. With CIT, officers are better prepared to work through a crisis and come to a peaceful resolution. Web Link (POST Police Officer Standard Training)

John Deming was an unarmed, 19 year old teenager, with no history of being in trouble.
John Deming needed and deserved help that night. No ones son should have died.

Listen to 911 Tape: 22 min
Web Link

“Screaming and smashing things”

4:58 “Box in his hand” (The Officers were able to see his hands)

5:17 “There might be another person in here as well. I don’t know if he is talking to himself or somebody else.“

5:44 “ I can hear him talking and stuff” (They identify he is alone and talking to himself) (CIT officers exhibit improved de-escalation and crisis resolution skills to achieve positive outcomes.)

8:22 “Want the canine with me at the window with the hole in it.”

9:00 “pole in his hand”

11:08 “ran back inside the business”

11:28 “We’re making entry with the canine”

11:39 “Glass all over the ground”
Sound of dog barking, attacking

11:55 “ Shots fired”

13:19 “update officers not hit suspect was”


Officer Kunkle is an 8 year veteran officer, he sued the Antioch Police Department for emotional stress while he worked there before being hired by the Pleasanton department.





3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 22, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Djohns, glad you are arguing for truth and discovery while interjecting your own diagnosis and assessment as truth.

"Your bias is wrong, and we should search for the truth, here's the truth, my bias is right"


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

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