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Santa Rosa Police Department
Monday December 2nd, 2019 :: 05:06 p.m. PST

Community

Update to In Custody Death Investigation (Case # 19-16259)

 
 
 
The following release contains updated information regarding an in-custody death that occurred on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, involving deputies from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Sebastopol Police Department.  The Santa Rosa Police Department is the lead investigating agency for this incident.
 
The deceased individual has been identified as David Glen Ward.  Ward was a 52-year-old male from Petaluma, California.  Ward was the registered owner of the vehicle involved in the pursuit.  Ward was not the suspect in the original incident involving the theft of the vehicle which occurred on November 24, 2019.  That incident is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
 
The involved deputies and officers have been identified as:
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Blount.  Deputy Blount has been a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for over 19 years.  Prior to that, he was an officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department for less than 2 years.
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Little.  Deputy Little has been a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for over 12 years.  Prior to that he was a correctional deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 5 years.
 
Sebastopol Police Officer Andrew Bauer.  Officer Bauer has been an officer for the Sebastopol Police Department for over 6 years.  He has approximately 3 years prior law enforcement experience with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
 
Sebastopol Police Officer Ethan Stockton.  Officer Stockton has been an officer with the Sebastopol Police Department for over 2 years.
 
The following deputies arrived on scene after Mr. Ward had been removed from the vehicle and was handcuffed:
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Glosser.  Deputy Glosser has been a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for over 4 years.
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Jax.  Deputy Jax has been a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for over 4 years.  Prior to that, he was a correctional deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 10 years.
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Smith.  Deputy Smith has been a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 3 years.  Prior to that he was a correctional deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 9 years.
 
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy James Falberg.  Deputy Falberg has been a deputy for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 11 years.  Prior to that he was a correctional deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for over 2 years.
 
Below is information that contains a more in-depth timeline and sequence of events in addition to the initial press release provided by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on November 27, 2019.
 
At around 5:41 a.m., the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch center received information from on off-duty Santa Rosa Police Detective regarding a vehicle theft.  The vehicle theft had occurred in the unincorporated area of west Sonoma County and was being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office.  The detective advised that the vehicle was near the area of Frei Road and Guerneville Road.  Deputy Little was the closest deputy in the area.
 
Deputy Little located the vehicle and at approximately 5:54 a.m., he attempted to make a traffic stop on the vehicle in area of Bloomfield Road and Murray Road.  Two Sebastopol police officers who had responded were in their patrol vehicles behind Deputy Little.  Deputy Little could not see inside of the vehicle and did not know how many or the identity of the occupants inside.   The suspect in the initial theft had been in possession of a firearm, and the vehicle was still reported as stolen.  The vehicle initially stopped but then fled the area, and the deputy and officers initiated a vehicle pursuit.
 
At approximately 5:59 a.m., as the pursuit continued, Deputy Little attempted to perform a pursuit intervention technique (PIT), but the driver continued fleeing despite the vehicle stopping momentarily.  The pursuit ended around 6:02 a.m., when the vehicle was stopped at Sutton Road and boxed in by Deputy Little and the Sebastopol Police Officers.  The pursuit lasted approximately 7 minutes and reached an estimated top speed of over 70 miles per hour.
 
Deputy Little, Officer Bauer, and Officer Stockton were on scene when the pursuit ended.
 
Deputy Charlie Blount was the next deputy on scene, and he arrived within minutes after the pursuit ended.  Deputy Blount, Deputy Little and the Sebastopol Police Officers approached the vehicle.  They gave Ward, the only occupant inside of the vehicle, orders to open the door, but he did not follow them.  Ward would put his hands up but continue to lower them out of the view of officers.  Ward eventually rolled down the window but did not open the door.  The involved officers attempted to get Ward out of the vehicle by removing him through the driver’s window.  They struggled to remove Ward from the vehicle and were unsuccessful in getting him out. At one point during the struggle, Deputy Little and Deputy Blount were both bit by Ward.
 
The deputies and officers used personal body weapons and struck Ward several times in an attempt to gain compliance and remove him from his vehicle. 
 
After several minutes of struggling to attempt to remove Ward from the vehicle, Deputy Little drew his Conducted Electrical Weapon (Taser) and deployed it at Ward through the open driver’s window.  The Taser was not effective and Ward continued to struggle.  Shortly after the initial deployment of the Taser, Deputy Blount who was outside next to Ward’s driver’s door placed one of his arms around the neck of Ward and attempted to administer a carotid restraint.  Shortly after this occurred, Officer Stockton was able to break the front passenger window of the vehicle with his baton.  Officer Stockton was then able to open the passenger door.  Ward was then removed from the vehicle through the passenger door, and they placed him in handcuffs.
 
At approximately 6:10 a.m., a deputy on scene advised their dispatch center that the suspect did not appear to be breathing and C.P.R. was started. 
 
At approximately 6:21 a.m., medical personnel arrived on scene. An ambulance transported Ward to the Petaluma Valley Hospital.
 
At approximately 7:17 a.m., Ward was pronounced deceased.
 
The investigation is still on going, and the details provided are based on the information that we currently have.  We encourage anyone with additional information regarding this incident to call our Violent Crimes Investigations Team at (707)543-3590.
 
The Sheriff’s Office will be doing an administrative review to determine if deputies followed policies during this incident.
 
For media inquiries, please contact Santa Rosa Police Lieutenant Dan Marincik at (707) 543-3644 or at dmarincik@srcity.org.


Prepared by: Lt. Dan Marincik

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

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