A Newark man died after being shot by a Danville police officer at the end of a short pursuit near downtown on Saturday morning, according to authorities.
Police Chief Allan Shields said the police officer, who was out of his car and moving toward the suspect vehicle to make an arrest, fired on the vehicle after the man drove at the officer in an attempt to hit him.
“It’s with a great deal of sadness that I speak with you today. It’s very unfortunate, but a young man lost his life today,” Shields said during a media briefing outside Danville Police Department headquarters Saturday afternoon.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office identified the man on Sunday as 33-year-old Newark resident Laudemer Arboleda.
The officer who fired his duty weapon was sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Hall, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for five years, according to sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee.
Hall, who sustained a minor injury in Saturday’s incident, is assigned to the Danville Police Department under the town’s police services contract with the sheriff’s office.
This marked the town’s first officer-involved shooting in more than 17 years, according to Danville officials.
Shields said the situation unfolded after a call to Danville police at 11:03 a.m. Saturday from a citizen reporting a suspicious person in their neighborhood -- near the intersection of Laurel Drive and Cottage Lane, between Interstate 680 and the Crossroads Shopping Center.
The caller told emergency dispatch that the stranger got out of his vehicle, walked toward several homes with bags in his hands, and then got back into his car and circled the neighborhood, according to Lee.
Officers arrived and soon located the person’s vehicle on Laurel Drive under the freeway, and the driver -- later identified as Arboleda -- immediately tried to flee police in the direction of downtown Danville, according to Shields.
A short pursuit ensued. Twice during that time, Arboleda pulled over as if he was going to surrender, but he sped away when officers got out of their cars, Lee said.
The suspect vehicle then arrived at the intersection of Front Street and Diablo Road, where other officers were located, according to Shields.
Several officers got out of their patrol cars to prepare to arrest Arboleda, but he hit the gas and attempted to run over Hall, according to investigators.
“Fearing for his life, our officer fired his weapon towards the vehicle in an attempt to get the driver to stop. The driver was struck,” Shields said. The number of shots Hall fired has not been released.
The vehicle then crashed, and officers approached the driver and attempted life-saving measures until paramedics arrived, according to Shields.
Arboleda was transported to San Ramon Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to Lee.
“A lot of what we do in law enforcement is to try and prevent these types of events from happening,” Shields said. “But unfortunately, sometimes we’re put in harm’s way and have to act appropriately.”
Police invoked Contra Costa County officer-involved shooting protocol, so the incident is being investigated jointly by Danville police, the sheriff’s office and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
The findings of the investigation will ultimately be presented at a coroner's inquest, a public hearing during which a citizen jury determines the manner of death, according to Lee.
Shields promised a “thorough investigation.” He spoke to assembled media for just over two minutes Saturday afternoon but declined to answer questions asked by reporters as he turned and walked away from the lectern right after finishing his prepared remarks.
Saturday’s incident was Danville police’s first officer-involved shooting since August 2001, according to Geoff Gillette, the town’s public information coordinator.
A video link to Shields’ media briefing is available sheriff’s office social media.
Anyone with any information related to the case can contact the sheriff’s Investigation Division at 313-2600. Anonymous tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-846-3592.