Police Bulletin | January 13, 2023 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |

Pleasanton Weekly

Community Pulse - January 13, 2023

Police Bulletin

Man charged with felony manslaughter for fatal crash in Dublin

A Livermore man now faces formal charges including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for allegedly striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk with his wife and toddler daughter in the car in Dublin last summer, the Weekly has learned.

Giovanni Fissore, 42, was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the collision on Dougherty Road that killed Roni Gage on July 31, but he was soon out of custody pending the completion of the police investigation and a charging decision by prosecutors.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against Fissore in October with three felony counts, one misdemeanor and two special allegations.

Fissore, who is not currently in custody at the Santa Rita Jail according to sheriff's online records, has pleaded not guilty in the case. He had a brief pretrial hearing last week, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 2.

Attempts to identify and contact his defense counsel were not immediately successful.

The collision occurred just after 10 p.m. on July 31 near the 6300 block of Dougherty Road, about a half-mile north of the major Dublin thoroughfare's intersection with Interstate 580.

Officers arrived to find that a female pedestrian -- later identified as 39-year-old Gage, of Dublin -- had been struck by a Chevrolet SUV while she was walking in the southbound lanes of Dougherty Road, not near an intersection or crosswalk, Dublin police said at the time. Gage was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fissore told investigators at the scene that he had just left a cousin's home in San Ramon about 10 minutes earlier and was driving home to Livermore with his wife and 2-year-old daughter in the vehicle, according to a probable cause declaration from Alameda County Sheriff's deputy Bodin Vimolchalao, who was assigned to Dublin Police Services under the city's contract with the sheriff's office.

The driver said he was driving approximately 35 to 40 mph in the far-right lane of southbound Dougherty Road when the crash happened, according to Vimolchalao.

"Just prior to the collision, Fissore was talking to his wife when he looked up at the road and saw a woman in the middle of his lane," the officer wrote. "Fissore said he swerved to his left to try to avoid the collision. He heard the impact of his vehicle hitting the victim and he pulled over to the side of the road as soon as he could."

Fissore allegedly told officers at the scene that he drank two glasses of wine that evening, with the most recent being about one hour earlier. However, according to Vimolchalao, the driver performed poorly on field sobriety tests and recorded blood-alcohol content readings by breathalyzer of 0.132% and 0.129% -- well above the legal driving limit of 0.08%.

He was placed under arrest that evening on suspicion of fatal DUI and child endangerment, the latter due to his daughter's presence in his car. The investigation continued through the summer until the case was forwarded to the DA's office and charges were filed on Oct. 11.

Fissore faces felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony DUI causing injury, felony driving with a 0.08%-plus blood-alcohol content causing injury and misdemeanor child abuse, as well as two special allegations related to the great bodily injury Gage suffered.

--Jeremy Walsh

In other news

* A Livermore man was seriously injured when he was hit by a vehicle while standing outside of his car after spinning out amid rainy conditions on Stanley Boulevard early Monday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision unfolded at about 1:40 a.m. when a Toyota Camry driving eastbound on the thoroughfare between Pleasanton and Livermore spun out of control and came to rest inoperable in the westbound lanes facing in a southerly direction, according to the CHP.

The driver, a 26-year-old Livermore man, got out of the Camry and stood near to the driver's side door. Moments later, a westbound vehicle driven by a 20-year-old Pleasanton man crashed into the driver's side of the stalled Camry, resulting in major injuries for the Camry's driver, according to the CHP.

Stanley Boulevard was wet and it was actively raining at the time of the collision. Alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the situation at this point, according to the CHP.

The incident remains under investigation. Neither driver's name was released publicly.

--Jeremy Walsh

* Livermore Police Department announced on social media Friday that a number of Chihuahuas were available to adopt at various local animal shelters after being rescued by officials last month.

LPD officials said they recently became aware of more than 50 Chihuahuas living in "filthy conditions" at a home in north Livermore. Several of them were found in crates without food or water.

The department's animal services officer Kathy Holmes -- along with community service specialist Joanna Johnson and Pleasanton police's animal services officer Frankie Ayers -- determined the owner was hoarding the dogs and unable to care for them.

The dogs were transported to the East County Animal Shelter in Dublin and received vaccinations, nail care and were placed in clean cages.

One of the dogs needed emergency medical attention and has already been placed in a new home. The remaining dogs are dispersed among other agencies that took them in to help the East County Animal Shelter with finding placements for them.

There are 15 available for adoption at Oakland Animal Services, 12 dogs are at Dublin SPCA and approximately 10 are at Valley Humane Society.

There are also 12 dogs remaining at the East County Animal Shelter.

LPD advises anyone interested in adopting a dog or making a donation to help with the financial burden of caring for them to contact the agencies directly.

As for the dogs' previous living situation, LPD's animal services officer has submitted a complaint to the district attorney's office and it is currently under investigation.

--Cierra Bailey

* Shots were fired but no injured parties were immediately located on the north side of Livermore last Friday night, the second day in a row a shooting in public was reported by police in the city.

The call came into 9-1-1 just before 9 p.m. Friday to report a shooting in the area of Broadmoor Street and Scenic Avenue in Livermore, according to the Livermore Police Department.

"When officers arrived, they did not find any victims. Officers found shell casings in the area," police said on Friday night. "No suspect has been identified at this time."

The incident came roughly 30 hours after a person was hurt when they were grazed by a bullet after a verbal confrontation escalated into gunfire at about 2:45 p.m. Jan. 5 at the intersection of Enos Way and Junction Avenue. That shooting happened about two blocks from Junction Avenue K-8 School, although the campus was out of session and still on winter break.

"Police believe he had been shot after a verbal confrontation. The suspects ran away before police arrived," the department stated. "The circumstances and motive surrounding the shooting are still under investigation."

Livermore police detectives continue to investigate both cases. Anyone with relevant information can contact the department's anonymous tip line at 925-371-4790.

--Jeremy Walsh

* A firefighter with the Alameda County Fire Department was arrested over the weekend for allegedly possessing child pornography, authorities said Monday.

Charles "Chuck" Harris, who lives in Mariposa County, was taken into custody on Sunday in San Leandro, where he works as an Alameda County firefighter, officials said.

Harris, 42, was arrested on a Ramey warrant for possession and distribution of multiple files of child pornography and booked into the Mariposa County Adult Detention Facility, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation into Harris was prompted by tips generated from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the sheriff's office said on Facebook.

Authorities didn't release any other information about the case, only saying that Harris is on paid administrative leave per his collective bargaining agreement as an employee of ACFD..

"These allegations, if proven true, are deeply concerning and undermine the public's trust in our public safety service," San Leandro Mayor Juan Gonzalez said. "We will work closely with our partner agencies to ensure that justice is served.  Each day, our community places its trust in our public safety staff, and we absolutely understand the anger and disappointment caused by the arrest of a first responder." 

Alameda County fire officials were not immediately available for comment on Monday.

The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, the Central California and Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, and the FBI took Harris into custody on Sunday. 

--Bay City News Service.

* The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority last month held a press conference regarding findings from an independent investigation into the May 26, 2021, mass shooting in the VTA's San Jose rail yard that left nine employees dead including Jose Hernandez III of Dublin.

An independent investigator was commissioned to evaluate if "there was anything we could have or should have known that might have prevented this tragedy," Jim Lawson, chief of external affairs for the VTA, said on Dec. 12.

The VTA Board of Directors authorized the release of the independent investigator's report, the VTA said.

"After months of research, the independent investigator concluded that VTA possessed no prior knowledge nor any warning that the employee/shooter was planning a mass shooting," said the VTA spokesperson.

The investigator, Morin I. Jacob from Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, said in the report given to the VTA that 47 witnesses had been interviewed, and that "there were no reports made to VTA that would have put VTA on notice that Cassidy might engage in violent behavior."

However, Jacob found, "five witnesses expressed concerns either to VTA supervisors or other VTA employees that Cassidy's demeanor or behavior was changing."

The VTA in November settled a lawsuit for $8 million with eight of the families of people killed.

According to Trial Lawyers for Justice, the law firm representing one victim's family in the suit, the shooter had a "pattern of insubordination" and had been involved in multiple altercations with co-workers prior to the shooting. VTA workers had also agreed that the shooter, 57-year-old Sam Cassidy, would be the staff member most likely to "go postal."

"By failing to act, VTA gave a man with known and dangerous propensities access to 379 employees at the yard," Eva Silva, the attorney representing the victim's family, said in a statement last May. "Nine of them are dead as a result."

The workers killed in the shooting were Abdojlvahab Alaghmandan, 63, Adrian Balleza, 29, Jose Hernandez III, 35, Lars Lane, 63, Michael Rudometkin, 40, Paul Megia, 42, Taptejeep Singh, 36, Timothy Romo, 49, and Alex Fritch, 49.

A 10th worker, Henry Gonzales, was found dead in his home in August of an apparent suicide after witnessing the shooting.

--Bay City News Service


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