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Santa Rosa Police Department
Monday August 1st, 2022 :: 08:19 p.m. PDT

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Update on the Investigation Associated w/ the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Officer-Involved Shooting on July 29

On Friday, July 29, 2022, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office invoked the Sonoma County Critical Incident Protocol and requested the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office to lead an independent investigation into the events that led to the officer-involved shooting and death of an adult male.
 
The deceased male was David Pelaez Chavez, a 36-year-old Lower Lake resident.
 
After the Critical Incident Protocol was invoked, the Santa Rosa Police Department’s Violent Crime Team took over the investigation.  Since July 29th, detectives have interviewed the two involved deputies and witnesses who had encounters with Chavez. SRPD detectives worked through the weekend to continue collecting information about the incident and identifying potential witnesses.  Field and Evidence Technicians processed the shooting scene and several other scenes associated with Chavez’ criminal behavior. Below is a summary of what is currently known about the incidents associated with the morning of July 29, 2022.
 
On July 29, 2022, at 7:30 am, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center received a phone call about a suspicious vehicle in the 10000-block of Highway 128, in Geyserville. The vehicle initially arrived at this location at approximately 5:30 am. Deputies located a silver Nissan 4-door sedan, but the owner/driver was not located. The vehicle was not stolen, and no crime appeared to have occurred. The Nissan was left where it was found. It was later determined that this vehicle belonged to Chavez.
 
At 8:20 am, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center received a phone call about a suspicious situation at a residence in the 5200-block of Tre Monte Lane, in Healdsburg. The reporting party stated that an unknown person just used a rock to break a window at his residence. A follow-up interview by detectives learned the homeowner saw Chavez walk onto his property, carrying large rocks. Chavez was not wearing any shoes/footwear.  The homeowner armed himself for his own safety. Chavez walked over to the exterior door of a bedroom and used a rock to smash the windowpane of the door.
 
The armed homeowner told Chavez to leave. Chavez started to walk toward the north side of the residence. To get Chavez to leave the property, the homeowner shot two warning shots to help encourage Chavez to get off his property. Chavez went to the north side of the residence and came across an employee of the homeowner. Chavez physically forced the employee away from the employee’s truck and started to drive away.  The employee tried to prevent Chavez from stealing his truck and was drug 20 feet, before letting go. The employee did not sustain significant injuries. Chavez drove through several vineyard gates and property fences. Ultimately, Chavez crashed the truck in a ditch, near the 5600-block of Tre Monte Lane.
 
Chavez began walking and arrived at a residence in the same area. He was carrying several more large rocks and went to the back of a residence. The homeowner did not know Chavez and armed himself with a gun, for his own safety. The homeowner contacted Chavez and told him to leave his property. Chavez told the homeowner to shoot him.
 
Chavez then fled this area going southeast toward Thomas Rd. In the 5600-block of Thomas Rd, Chavez found a Gator-style utility vehicle near a ranch storage area. Chavez stole the utility vehicle and drove east on Thomas Rd, then south on rural roadways. Chavez drove through two more ranch gates and then crashed the utility vehicle on a rural road. Chavez then fled, without shoes, east over thick/dense rolling hills, through heavy brush, up steep hillsides, and creeks. Before deputies could stop Chavez, he had traveled approximately one mile, over 45 minutes.
 
Deputies were able to track Chavez’ movements since they arrived at the incident in the 5200-block of Tre Monte Lane. Once deputies saw Chavez in the wooded area, east of Thomas Rd, they ordered Chavez to drop his weapons, but he refused. Chavez would continually yell non-sensical statements, but would not comply with the deputy’s numerous orders.
 
In the creek bed of Franz Creek, approximately one mile from where Chavez crashed the utility vehicle, deputies were able to catch up to Chavez. Both deputies continued to order Chavez to drop his weapons, but he refused to comply. In one hand, Chavez was holding a claw hammer and a tiller (a tool with a pickax-style blade on one side and a sharp three-prong fork on the other). Chavez was also holding a larger river rock in the other. As one deputy tried to communicate with Chavez, Chavez turned toward that deputy and threatened to hit him with a cantaloupe-sized river rock. The deputy was holding a Taser, so he attempted to find cover before possibly being seriously injured. The deputy was also in the water, while Chavez was standing in the dry creek bed.
 
The second deputy paralleled Chavez from the side of the creek. When Chavez saw the deputy, Chavez turned toward the deputy and began to verbally engage with him. The deputy ordered Chavez to drop his weapons, but Chavez refused and continued to yell nonsensical statements. Chavez held the weapons above his head and continued to yell at the deputy. Chavez then dropped the large river rock. He quickly leaned down, picked up another large river rock, and made a movement that indicated he was threatening to hurl the rock at the deputy. Chavez was also still armed with the claw hammer and a tiller. The deputy fired three rounds, striking Chavez an unknown number of times. The shooting occurred at approximately 10:03 am. 
 
Deputies immediately began rendering medical aid to Chavez. Deputies already had medical staging in the region, but it would be difficult for them to get to this heavily wooded area. With the use of Henry-1, the paramedic was flown to the shooting scene, to assist with medical aid. Chavez was pronounced dead at 10:29 am. An autopsy will be completed by the Marin County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.
 
This is an ongoing investigation and significant amounts of work still need to be completed. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies involved in the incident were:

  • Deputy Michael Dietrick: 8 years, 11 months of service (5 years with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office + 3 years, 11 months with Clearlake Police Department)
  • Deputy Anthony Powers: 3 years, 9 months of service (5 months with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office + 3 years, 4 months with San Francisco Police Department)
Both deputies are on paid administrative leave. For media inquiries related to the work history of both deputies and the administrative investigation, please contact Sergeant Juan Valencia at 707-565-3941.
 
For media inquiries related to the incident, please contact Sergeant Christopher Mahurin at [email protected] or 707-975-0129. SRPD case #22-8672
 

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Santa Rosa Police Department
965 Sonoma Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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