Police Describe Murder-Suicide, Two Victims Identified (Updated at 3 am Mar. 28)

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According to reports, police and SWAT were called in just before 7 pm on Thursday evening when a 911 call came came from a man reporting two gunshot victims.

SWAT was called and MRAPs from Woodland and West Sacramento arrived.

Police confirmed that two people were found dead inside the second floor of a Glacier Drive home.

The Vanguard is awaiting the official police report and will post an update later.

Updated at 7:30 am from Assistant Chief Darren Pytel:

911 dispatch received a call around 7 pm with a male caller saying he saw a deceased male and a deceased female inside a residence on Glacier. He provided a first name and said both appeared to have been shot. He hung up.

Arriving patrol units surrounded the house and tried to make contact with anyone inside. They received no answer. The phone that called 911 pinged to the address on Glacier.

The Facebook page of the person that lived there and who owned the phone had pictures, including pictures of high power weapons, that caused great concern. He also very recently purchased another gun.

SWAT was activated.  After hours of trying to make contact, we used a robot to breach the front door. The concern was that we could have a situation where a person may have wanted to do “suicide by cop.”

The robot was unable to search upstairs. Gas was introduced to the upstairs. SWAT then made entry and located a deceased male and a deceased female in separate upstairs bedrooms.

Investigations is just now starting to process the scene because we had to wait for the gas to clear, warrants to be received, and evidence personnel to arrive.

Updated at 3 am March 28 from Davis Police Release:

On March 26, 2015, at approximately 6:50 pm, the Davis Police Department received a 911 call from a male requesting that an ambulance and police respond to a residence on Glacier Dr. because a male and a female were in the house, had been shot, and both were deceased. Dispatchers attempted to gain further information from the caller, however, he refused to answer questions and abruptly disconnected the call.

Officers responded and surrounded the house because they believed there may have been an armed suspect still in the residence. After making numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact anyone in the house, the SWAT team responded in order to facilitate safe entry.

Entry was made several hours later and officers found a deceased male and a deceased female. Both died from gunshot wounds.

Davis Police Investigators took over the investigation and determined that the deceased are 27-year-old Whitney Engler and 23-year-old Joseph Hein. Both lived in Davis.

Although it is early in the investigation, preliminary evidence suggests this was a murder-suicide. Therefore, investigators do not believe there is anyone else involved, and are not actively seeking any suspects at this time.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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98 thoughts on “Police Describe Murder-Suicide, Two Victims Identified (Updated at 3 am Mar. 28)”

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Yeah it doesn’t make any sense to me. The objection to the MRAP wasn’t just to us having it, it was to it being deployed in the city. I actually raised this point a few months ago.

  1. zaqzaq

    Perfect example of the lunacy of the CC decision to return the MRAP.  MRAPs will be deployed in the city when DPD determines there is a need.  There is no avoiding this fact.  The citizens of Woodland and West Sacramento are well serveded because their police departments can rapidly deploy the MRAPs within their cities when needed.  The citizens of Davis are not well served because DPD must request assistance from either Woodland or West Sacramento causing a delay in the deployment of the MRAP.  Hopefully there is no loss of life in Davis due to this delay as the treatment of gunshot or stabbing wounds is time sensitive.

    Our current mayor thinks we live in a bubble where violent crime does not occur.  He is ignorant to believe this.  He does not know the difference between a tank and an MRAP and is proud of his ignorance.  Two people shot to death in Davis last night.  I wonder how many double homicides Woodland and West Sacramento have had since 2010?  We have our nice little bubble that is Davis where two people are shot to death, a high school student murders an elderly couple while they sleep and mutilates their bodies, and a mother drowns her five year old daughter in a bathtub.  We also have a mayor living in his own little bubble of ignorance.  Maybe instead of referring to our mayor as “Developer Dan” it would be preferable to refer to him as “Dan in a Bubble”.  A bubble of ignorance.

    1. hpierce

      Having a bit of trouble with understanding your logic. In this particular case, it appears that two shots were fired, which prompted the call toPD, who then mobilized the MRAP deployment.  Two bodies have been reported found.  It appears that the deaths occurred long before the MRAP’s arrived.  First blush makes this sound like a murder/suicide. If so, unlikely the MRAP deployment would have changed the outcome.  Facts may be disclosed later that there are other factors.

      I did not oppose the City’s ownership of the MRAP’s except a bit on the cost/benefit side.  Economic, not philosophic.

      1. zaqzaq

        My point is that violent crime occurs in this city.  The MRAP would not have made a difference in this case from the brief description.  There is the potential that an MRAP may be needed and that the delay could result in death.  MRAPs are going to be used in Davis so why not have one that is controlled by our police department for a quicker response time.  It is bad policy to take the position that we do not want our police to have one but we will be using them anyway, just with a slower response time.

        1. zaqzaq

          My understanding was that the maintenance cost would be minimal.  I believe the engine for example is similar to those used in our fire engines.

        2. Alan Miller

          My point is that violent crime occurs in this city.  The Nuclear Rocket Launcher would not have made a difference in this case from the brief description.  There is the potential that an Nuclear Rocket Launcher may be needed and that the delay could result in death.  Nuclear Rocket Launchers are going to be used in Davis so why not have one that is controlled by our police department for a quicker response time.

  2. Tia Will

    Our current mayor thinks we live in a bubble where violent crime does not occur.  He is ignorant to believe this

    I sincerely doubt that our mayor, or anyone else on the CC, believes this. As I recall the discussion there was never a denial by any of those opposing the MRAP that violent crime occurs. The question was whether or not the MRAP was the best means to address that threat in our setting. This is quite a different attitude than you are portraying and was a matter of debate even in the police department as discussed at the first community, police facilitated discussion.

    One question that I would ask. What useful role did the MRAP end up playing in this particular case. Just because a piece of equipment is deployed does not mean that it was indicated or useful. I think it might be a good idea to await further details before casting aspersions on those who hold differing points of view, and particularly before calling someone ignorant based on beliefs that they certainly do not hold.

    1. zaqzaq

      Tia,

      “Dan in a Bubble” wrote an opinion piece in the SF Chronicle that displayed the attitude I described.

      The MRAP was used to deploy the robot controller so that the robot could go into the house to determine the situation.  We do not know if the victim bled out while they were waiting for the MRAP to arrive from Woodland or West Sacramento.  As a doctor you should know that the quicker you treat a trauma victim the more likely they are to recover.  It may turn out that the extra time it took for the MRAP to arrive would not have made a difference.  Then again … .

      1. Tia Will

        zaqzaq

        I have read the mayor’s opinion piece and am unaware of any statement that he made that Davis has no violent crime. It was my understanding that his opinion was that the MRAP was not a good fit for our community. It might or might not surprise you to know that some of our police officers including Assistant Chief Pytel were initially of the same opinion but were convinced by discussions within the department to back it. I think it would be a very tough case to make that Mr. Pytel is ignorant with regard to crime in Davis. The need or lack of need for an MRAP in Davis is not the slam dunk that some on either side would like to make it out to be.

        I am also fully aware of the importance of time in the treatment of a trauma victim. However, none of the very little information conveyed so far would give us any indication of whether the MRAPs would have been at all helpful in this situation. That is why my argument was not for or against the MRAP in this case, it was to wait until more information is obtained before rushing to judgment as some have done.

        1. zaqzaq

          When you refer to the MRAP not being a good fit as attributed to Pytel and other officers you are referring to public perception or reaction, not whether it is a useful and necessary tool.  I suspect that there were many people in DPD that were concerned about a negative reaction to this acquisition.  I also believe that those same individuals recognized that the MRAP had many useful applications such as those demonstrated last night that could reduce the risk of harm for officers.   Nice try to spin that the not a good fit comment.

          In this case the MRAPs were used to reduce the risk to officers so that they could get close enough to the house to deploy the robot due to the concern about the type weapons potentially located in the home.

          What would be really amusing is if either the Woodland or West Sacramento MRAP was the very same MRAP that our CC directed the police department to return to sender.  The very same MRAP that once was DPD’s was brought into Davis at the request of DPD.  “Dan in a Bubble’s” very own “tank” was used by DPD.  Way to go CC.

    2. hpierce

      The PR release from the Asst Chief w/ Facebook info etc., and the ‘obvious’ fact that the caller was not the deceased, and that the phone owner tied to the Facebook page sure looks like ‘probable cause’ to approach with all due caution — and then some.

  3. David Greenwald Post author

    JUST POSTED AN UPDATE

    In addition to the update, I was told that the police had information of high powered weapons on the site and associated with the person in question.  They believed that the weapons were capable of penetrating body armor and the peacekeeper vehicle.

    They police believed that the only way to get the robot controllers in place to attempt to communicate in a safe manner was heavier armor and they were also needed to protect for gas and plan deployment.

    They were concerned they were dealing with a murder and a possible suicide by cop situation and acted to ensure the safety of the officers.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      While the police can’t confirm this yet, it seems like this was a murder suicide with the perpetrator taking their own life.

  4. Unbelievable

    Two of our community members were killed. It is likely that people reading the DV know and love the (still not publicly identified) victims. Those with family or friends in the Glacier Drive area are worried about their loved ones, coming here hoping for an update and more information. Instead, they find commenters using the opportunity to score a few points in a political argument, with no hope of convincing anyone of anything (other than padding their own egos by “proving” somebody wrong on the internet). I don’t give a **** where you stand on the MRAP issue. In what world is the debate itself more important than the lives it was intended to save?

        1. hpierce

          “When this article was first written we didn’t even have confirmed fatalities.”  If that was the case, why was the ‘headline’ what it was?

           

           

    1. Tia Will

      Unbelievable

      I don’t give a **** where you stand on the MRAP issue. In what world is the debate itself more important than the lives it was intended to save?”

      The debate is not more important than the lives. I see nothing here in anyone’s comments that would make me believe that is the case. One can respect human life, and love individual human beings and still feel that the circumstances surrounding their lives and deaths warrant discussion. This is certainly true for me as a doctor. We frequently care very deeply for our patients and yet, when we have a bad outcome, we discuss at great length what other approach might have been better, what other equipment or techniques might have led to a better outcome. I am sure that the family of the person adversely affected expects that not only will the doctors do this, but they themselves do it and discuss the event with other family members, friends and acquaintances who have no special expertise. I see no disrespect or devaluing of human life here.

      1. Barack Palin

        Thank you Tia and well stated.  I fully expected responses like Unbelievable and Don Shor wrote.  I agree with everything you wrote.  As another example, take the recent airplane crash and the discussion of how the co-pilot was left in the cockpit alone and what might have caused him to crash the plane.  Is that taboo to talk about because 150 people died?  I think not.

      2. Frankly

        Well said.  There will be many times where a moment of silence is needed, justified and should be respected.  I don’t see the need to apply it to the Vanguard at this time.

    2. Frankly

      Hmm…  well, I get your point but then are you exploiting the emotions of the situation to make a defensive political point too?

      The MRAP topic is valid because of the consideration of safety for the cops, and the potential that their response was slower than would have otherwise been if the local police had possession of the vehicle.  God forbid we learn that one or more of the victims might have been saved with a quicker response.  God forbid that there was a shooter in the house and he/she shot any cops waiting for the MRAP to arrive.

      I don’t think the tragedy of this occurrence is minimized in any way with comments about the MRAP.  In fact, it was the risk of events like this that opponents of the CC decision to reject the vehicle were concerned about.  So demanding that nobody talk about the MRAP when the events occur seems a convenient blocking technique for those that need to take responsibility for their support, advocacy or decision to return the vehicle.

      Most of us can process our sadness over the loss of life and the hurt to the people knowing the victims while also processing our concerns for how the professionals in our city deal with situations like this.

      1. davisite4

        So demanding that nobody talk about the MRAP when the events occur seems a convenient blocking technique for those that need to take responsibility for their support, advocacy or decision to return the vehicle.

        On the contrary, some of us who wanted the MRAP gone would like to talk about the use of the MRAP in this incident, because it is not at all clear to me that it was needed.  Ideally, I would like to hear from someone who is not associated with the DPD.  It’s not clear to me that this situation was well handled.

        1. Miwok

          On the contrary, some of us who wanted the MRAP gone would like to talk about the use of the MRAP in this incident, because it is not at all clear to me that it was needed.

          Are you in Law Enforcement, or have knowledge where they just rolled TWO of them for fun? I don’t think they ordered them out based on a whim. AND they rolled two.

          Please explain, from your professional assessment, what has to happen before they roll SWAT?

        2. hpierce

          Miwok… suspect that they put out the request at the same time, not knowing which (if either) was available or when they would arrive… sounds like ‘belt and suspenders’… just guessing…

        3. davisite4

          Are you in Law Enforcement, or have knowledge where they just rolled TWO of them for fun? 

          Nice selective editing.  You left out the part where I suggested that we need an outside opinion.  Your way of assessing things seems to suggest that police departments never make mistakes.  That’s just not plausible.

          [Administrator: I accidentally hit “Report Comment” when I meant to hit “Reply.”  Please ignore].

        4. Miwok

          Thank you, Davisite4

           Ideally, I would like to hear from someone who is not associated with the DPD.  It’s not clear to me that this situation was well handled.

          Is this the rest of the paragraph I commented on, so I will explain, which is not how I meant the comment. WHO should they call for a consult? CHP? Mayor Wolk? That is what I thought was strange about your comment. I was looking for more information from your brief comment, because it was not clear what you were saying..

          I tried to be brief like your comment, but I think we both need to elaborate more?

          I have done that “report button myself” 🙂

        5. davisite4

          Miwok,

          WHO should they call for a consult? CHP? Mayor Wolk?

          I’m not saying that anyone should be called for a consult, but rather, that an outside opinion would be helpful for understanding whether good procedures were followed here.  As for “who,” I’d say law enforcement professionals outside of Davis, preferably someone with experience in a comparable town, or standard procedure manuals, again for comparable towns.

          I think a number of people in this thread have raised legitimate concerns about the procedures that were followed and about alternatives that could have been used.  I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, so I can’t fully judge them, but those comments have raised questions in my mind so that I’d like to hear from those who are experts (but again, outside of Davis).

    3. Antoinnette

      Dearest Unbelievable…I apologize if comments here have offended…

       

      I completely agree, it really doesn’t matter anymore why or why not the MRAP was used, needed..or etc, does it? This is a sad and tragic day for not only the families of the victims but those of us in the community. Two young lives gone, needlessly and why? What can we do to stop things like this from happening? How are our young getting ahold of guns?

      It would better serve us to be focusing on  how to prevent this kind of tragedy and on doing what we can to support the families right now; How we can help these families overcome this most difficult time. Like, send food, cards, flowers, anything that will help give some relief for their grieving hearts.

       

      I know each incident is unique and it is a tough call to make a decision on what is best in a split second but I feel that police acted appropriately, agree with Michelle Millet on that subject. But leaving it at that..

      I am hoping we can get information on how we can help. Maybe David can find out via the police department.

      I am pretty sure the police officers on duty that evening are dealing with a lot too, as this has to be an emotional bearing on the soul for anyone.

      My heart goes out to all, and my prayers are constant for all of the families affected by such a tragedy.

       

      1. Alan Miller

        It would better serve us to be focusing on  how to prevent this kind of tragedy

        The best way to “prevent” something like this is to accept that you can’t.  No one can.  Somehow our society has devolved into thinking that everything should be perfect, that people should be perfect, that we can fix anything, prevent anything.  The truth is, people are flawed, many are mentally ill, and odd tragedies will occur.  Trying to have this perfect, sun shiny world only helps to make those who are “off” feel even more isolated.  You can fix a pothole or a bad curve in the highway; you can’t prevent a moment of unpredictable conflict between imperfect human beings.

        1. Tia Will

          Alan

          you can’t prevent a moment of unpredictable conflict between imperfect human beings.”

          I fundamentally disagree with this point of view. While I agree that you can’t prevent every conflict between imperfect human beings, you certainly can prevent some. If you teach a child that when she is angry, she walks away to “cool down” rather than striking out in anger, you may have prevented one tragedy down the road. When you multiply a peaceful action throughout a population, you can see great things achieved peacefully rather than through violence. Two well known examples : Gandhi, MLK.

          We may not always succeed when we teach peaceful conflict resolution, but we are guaranteed to fail if we simply throw up our hands and say “there is nothing we can do”.

  5. LadyNewkBahm

    I’m holding out hope that the MRAP will have been successfully been deployed in davis without having grown a mind

    of its own and attacking children or animals. The data is not back yet…..

    1. Frankly

      Considering animals.  Apparently the cops used gas and flashbang grenades in the house before they entered, and there were dogs and cats in the house.  Those poor animals must have been terrified and will probably never be the same.  More sadness to add to the pile.

  6. hpierce

    Perhaps, had the VG waited until this morning’s press release, OR had not put the MRAP ‘issue’ into the Headline, (where it ‘highlighted’ first, with the deaths mentioned secondly), the discourse would have been different.  Had it read “Two Victims Dead, SWAT Team Deployed”, with the MRAP part just in the body of the “story”…

    1. Alan Miller

      Perhaps, had the VG waited until this morning’s press release, OR had not put the MRAP ‘issue’ into the Headline, (where it ‘highlighted’ first, with the deaths mentioned secondly), the discourse would have been different.

      Ya THINK?!!   The moment I saw the Nuclear Rocket Launcher in the headline, I thought, “there goes David again, creating conflict where none exists”.  I would really have like to have heard that discussion of the incident sans MRAP, but so far all I’ve heard is MRAP, MRAP, MRAP like a bunch of nuclear ducks.

  7. DavisBurns

    Last week four police cars blocked the street near my house in order to apprehend a cyclist.  My daughter asked what was going on. The police asked her if she wanted to spend the night in jail.  This isn’t the only time I’ve known them to overreact.

    The person who called it in said he heard two shots and saw two dead bodies. Whoever he was, if there was another distressed person in the house, seems like his presence would have gotten a response.

    If there was a person hoping for suicide by cop, surely he would have responded to the megaphone requests to come out but it’s hard for dead bodies to respond.  This is an example of if we have the stuff available, we will use it.

    i was in Moraga a few years ago,  the cops responded to a domestic call where an autistic teen had locked himself in his room and was refusing to come out or relenquish the Internet connection.  There were no guns in the house and no threats of violence. They had new swat gear and really really wanted to use it and they did.

    I think there are way too many cop shows on tv.  I think the police live in a culture of fear that is not grounded in reality but based on media hype.

     

    1. Frankly

      Tell that to the cop from San Jose just shot and killed responding to a report of a mentally disturbed person.  I get your point  here, but risk of the death of a cop should override hypersensitivity to symbolism.

  8. hpierce

    “… and there were dogs and cats in the house.”  Not seen in official reports to date.  “Tongue in cheek/spitballing”, do you have other info and/or you were present?

  9. Miwok

    I am waiting for the report to be updated, but I can see rolling the MRAP if it had the robot camera in it, but it cannot climb stairs? They do not have a drone with a camera or a GoPro on a stick?

    I guess the arguments against the MRAP were valid, because it seems they need so much more and less expensive equipment first. Is there a list?

    The argument about the Mayor being ignorant is disturbing. I do think he has the job of bringing up unpleasant things to the public forum, like the rest of the CC, the Peoples’ elected representatives. If he is Micromanaging Law Enforcement, even after the fact, it is irresponsible, even negligent. But as far as we have read so far, he did not call the Chief and tell them to stand down with the MRAP. Two of them rolled.

    As Tia mentioned, a healthy debrief session is now in order, but it seems there were deficiencies in the equipment even WITH the MRAP. For example, the robot going upstairs. With the new apartments in So Davis and such, three stories, what or how are they going to get up there?

    I talked with a Sheriff’s Deputy in Sacramento County a while back who had all the accoutrements on and asked how heavy that all was. He mentioned about 60 pounds. Can you imagine the extra SWAT Team carries? I hefted a MilSpec Armor plate (one) recently and it alone was twenty pounds. Oof!

    But if this was an active shooter, there would not be all the second guessing. Let’s be thankful all our LEOs went home safely.

  10. Michelle Millet

    Beyond expressing sadness for this seemingly senseless lose of life, I’d like to express my gratitude toward our Davis Police officers and other law enforcement officers who were on the scene. From the information so far provided it appears they handled this dangerous situation in a level headed and professional manner. I’m grateful that they had access to two vehicles that could offer them protection as, in the course of their service to our community, they put themselves into a potentially life threatening situation.

  11. Scheney

    Friends and community members are searching for one dog that went missing last night that belonged to the woman who died.  Look for the posters that people are putting up and keep an eye out for this dog. 4 year old female Australian Shepard, brown and white, Rosie, answers to “here” rather than “come”, but is afraid of men. And likely severely traumatized.  If you spot her call Animal Control or 530-756-2950.   People will immediately respond to help.

    I’m now hearing that two of her cats are also missing.

  12. Robert Canning

    “Rolling” (isn’t cop talk fun?) two MRAPs and a robot and flash grenades and SWAT gear for a murder suicide seems a bit of overkill. What is “probable cause” based on a Facebook page? A few years ago this would have been handled differently and in many jurisdictions these types of incidents have been handled without lots of hardware. Most of the time in hostage situations time is on the side of law enforcement.

    There is usually more than one way to handle crisis situations. What was the imminent threat in this indicent? The culture of militarization of local police forces has made the cultural gap between law enforcement and the citizenry even broader. I sure don’t feel safer just because our police department has an MRAP (or can get one “rolled” within minutes). The rate of crime in our country has not been this low since the 1950’s yet we clamor for more and more high tech equipment and making sure our police have the latest gismos.

     

    1. hpierce

      Could it be that the owner of the phone had called the deaths in?  Somebody who was apparently still alive?  We’ll hopefully know more later.  Perhaps the “suicide” half of the equation called immediately prior to doing an ‘Ernest Hemingway’, and ‘ate the shotgun’.  I have no clue.  Still think the PD had reasonable cause to act in a very conservative manner.  MRAP issue even more cloudy, but ‘get it’.

    2. zaqzaq

      Robert,

      I wonder if the San Jose had rolled (your term) an MRAP or two with SWAT would the San Jose Officer who was shot to death be alive today.  Hindsight is 100%.  You indicate that the DPD response was over kill.  Would you say that the San Jose response was just right?  The info in the papers indicates that the resident of that home had high powered weapons that could penetrate body armor in the Davis incident.  No officer or civilian fatalities beyond the two that were most likely already dead.  DPD did not know if a killer was in the house and acted cautiously to clear the house without endangering any officers. Hence the use of the MRAP and robot.

    3. Michelle Millet

      “Rolling” (isn’t cop talk fun?) two MRAPs and a robot and flash grenades and SWAT gear for a murder suicide seems a bit of overkill. 

      Putting aside the fact that the police did not have the benefit of hindsight, how did “rolling” out any of this equipment cause harm? It’s intended use was to protect the lives of our law enforcement officers who were entering a potentially “active shooter” crime scene.

      What is “probable cause” based on a Facebook page?

      I’m unsure why it matters that their “probable cause” came from Facebook. Honestly this seems like a relatively reliable source of information, and I’m glad that had the foresight to use it. I hope law enforcement continues to use any resources that provides them information which leads to them taking precautions that may ultimately save lives.

      What was the imminent threat in this indicent?

      That two people had been shot and they needed medical attention.

      I sure don’t feel safer just because our police department has an MRAP

      You are not the one being asked to put yourself into a potentially life threatening situation, so, and I will be a little blunt here, whether you feel safer is not relevant to me, what is relevant to me is whether our rescue workers feels safer because our police department has, or has access to, an MRAP.

       

      1. Barack Palin

        Great replies Michelle.  One way I always look at it is what precautions would I want in place if my son was one of the responding officers?  I would want him to be as safe as possible in a shooter situation.  I wonder if some of the anti-MRAP bunch would be willing to put themselves in such a situation without the most protection they could be afforded.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          I also have looked at this from the point of view of “what would I want if my son were the responding officer”. My response is that I would want for him the best equipment available. The police were in complete agreement with those of us in the community who pointed out that the MRAP was not designed for urban use and was not the best piece of equipment for our city. None of the police at any of the public events I attended contested this point, and at one forum Assistant Chief Pytel pointed out some of the specificl disadvantages of that piece of equipment in our setting and specified which equipment he would rather have. If we really want the best protection for our “sons” and if the police believe that there is better equipment available and have data to support it, then that is what we should be providing for them.

          I would have you think of it this way. I am going to do an operation on your daughter. Which would you prefer I use, the robotic instrument specifically designed to perform this type of surgery, or one that has been partially converted from a different industrial use, but which, although it has not been thoroughly vetted in the gynecologic setting, I think may be adequate for the planned surgery. I have both a daughter and a son, and I know which I would prefer.

        2. zaqzaq

          Tia,

          In the current situation DPD has neither the Bearcat nor the MRAP.  In your medical scenario there would be no operation and the young lady would not have the operation because there was no surgical equipment.  It appears that many police agencies have deployed MRAPs for police operations with success.  What do you consider proper vetting for the MRAP?  The MRAP appears to have been successfully deployed in Davis regarding the use of the robot to enter the home.  Chalk up one success for the MRAP.

      2. Tia Will

        Michelle

        I have a different perspective on a couple of your comments.

        ’m unsure why it matters that their “probable cause” came from Facebook. Honestly this seems like a relatively reliable source of information, and I’m glad that had the foresight to use it. I hope law enforcement continues to use any resources that provides them information which leads to them taking precautions that may ultimately save lives.”

        I disagree that Facebook is a reliable source of information. Basically anyone can post any misinformation, lies, or just plain nonsense any time they want to. Why would one ever assume that what was posted was accurate information ? Now I have no problem with the police checking social media, it is out there and publicly available. However, I would not consider it any more accurate than I would a commercial stating that “Captain Crunch” is a healthful cereal or that Suzanne Summers is a reliable source of medical advice. The potential harm that I see is that  misinformation from this source could potential delay indicated police action.

        I will be a little blunt here, whether you feel safer is not relevant to me, what is relevant to me is whether our rescue workers feels safer because our police department has, or has access to, an MRAP.”

        I will be a little blunt in return. It frankly does not matter to me whether an individual private citizen “feels safer” or whether a police officer “feels safer”. What matters to me is whether they are or are not objectively safer with access to an MRAP. From my direct observation at police/ community forums, there does not seem to be universal agreement even within the police department on objective safety and their does not seem to be sufficient evidence to prove objective improvement in safety in the urban setting one way or the other. The police were quite frank that there is not enough objective data to prove the utility of the MRAPs but were quite frank in stating that it was “their feeling” that it might be useful.

         

        1. Michelle Millet

          I disagree that Facebook is a reliable source of information. Basically anyone can post any misinformation, lies, or just plain nonsense any time they want to. Why would one ever assume that what was posted was accurate information?

          The spreading of misinformation, lies, or just plain nonsense is not limited to Facebook.

          Tia, given the amount of sharing people do on social media, my guess is that you would get much more reliable information about your patients by looking at their Facebook pages rather then the questionnaire they are asked to fill out, or the conversations you have with them in the exam room.

      3. Robert Canning

        First, cops are not rescue workers – we’re talking about a police force, not fire fighters or ambulance workers. Cops may have opportunity to rescue people but their first job is to prevent crime and protect the public. You are muddying the discussion – let’s stick with criminal justice folks.

        Second, is the public better served by having an MRAP? Is crime prevented? I don’t think so. During the discussion last year about the acquisition of the MRAP Chief Black showed the council a large poster with pictures of lots of guns that the DPD had confiscated in a couple raids in town. That was good policing – preventive police work that paid off by removing illegal firearms from the community. As a citizen I am more interested in supporting this sort of policing than policing that involves gearing up with lots of tech and armor.

        I believe that Davis citizens should support a police department and the policies like the one we heard at city council a few weeks ago when Asst. Chief Pytel and the Human Rights Commission presented the new process for review of citizen complaints, rather than policies that only respond to fear.

        The perception that we live in a more dangerous world (there’s an active shooter around every corner, etc.) is belied by the statistics that – as I mentioned and no one seems to bring up in comments – crime is down. Way down. And a certain portion of the public loudly proclaims their support without questioning the need or expense.

        Michelle, you’re a proud and vocal supporter of the need for an MRAP in Davis. Would you have the same level of support if we had to purchase the MRAP and pay for it’s maintenance? If we had to budget for all the equipment that the DPD has acquired from the DOD program (body armor and other stuff)? Where’s the balance and cost/benefit analysis here?

         

        1. Michelle Millet

          First, cops are not rescue workers – we’re talking about a police force, not fire fighters or ambulance workers. Cops may have opportunity to rescue people but their first job is to prevent crime and protect the public. You are muddying the discussion – let’s stick with criminal justice folks

          Our police officers are absolutely “rescue workers”.  I think it is insulting to them to suggest otherwise.  Like our fire fighters and medics, police should have access to equipment that offers them protection when entering a dangerous scene.

        2. Michelle Millet

          Michelle, you’re a proud and vocal supporter of the need for an MRAP in Davis.

          This is not an accurate statement. I don’t have strong feelings about the MRAP one way or the other.I am a strong supporter of providing our police officers with equipment that can provide them protection when they enter potentially life threatening situations.

        3. zaqzaq

          Robert,

          Those weapons that were confiscated were taken during a SWAT operation using the then existing armored vehicles from WSPD and WPD.  I wonder if either of the WSPD or WPD vehicles broke down en route.  The good work you are referring to was an investigation that led to a search warrant and then the entry into the home which resulted in the seizure of those weapons.  If either WSPD or WPD had their MRAPs instead of the older vehicles they would have been used to protect the officers in the same way that the older vehicles were used.  Nice argument for the MRAP.  Thanks.

          The primary purpose of the police is public safety, not crime prevention or investigation.  The MRAP or Bearcat is either deployed in reaction to an dangerous situation or during an operation that has potential dangers that are reduced by their use.  I suspect that neither of these vehicles will prevent crime much like a SWAT team will not prevent crime.

           

        4. Michelle Millet

          The police play the most important and most dangerous “rescuer” role in scenarios like the one that took place the other night.  They secure the scene so that other resue workers can safely get to victims needing medical attention. Again not to acknowledge them as rescuers in this and other situations, where they are putting their lives at risk in order to try and save the lives of others, shows a lack of respect and maybe understanding for the work they do and the role they play in our community.

      4. Alan Miller

         . . .  what is relevant to me is whether our rescue workers feels safer because our police department has, or has access to, a nuclear rocket launcher.

  13. Dave Hart

    This incident justifies not having the MRAP as much as an argument can be made for having the MRAP.  In fact, if the MRAP is requested for 100 incidents between now and the end of the year when, like today, the presence of the MRAP had no material effect on the outcome of the incident, that doesn’t make the MRAP necessary.  It was deployed because it exists in West Sac.  If no MRAP was available, this incident would not have had a different outcome.  Classic example of the job expanding to fit the resources available.

    Two, three, five years ago, name your time frame, before the MRAP was born, this incident would have been handled without the MRAP and the outcome would have been the same.

     

    1. Tia Will

      Dave Hart

      I agree with your post and would take this potentially one step further. Consider the possibility that the existence of the MRAP in our region becomes in and of itself a cause of delay. Let’s suppose that the police become so adverse to any risk taking that they see it as a need to wait for the MRAP to deploy before they take any action that could potentially place them at any harm. Now you have delay in necessary life saving action because of the potentially false reassurance of enhanced safety because of the perceived ( but not necessarily true) need for the MRAP.

      On the issue of risk in general, I think that a little perspective might be in order. There are many categories of job that require risk taking. Airline pilots and crew members take life and death risks daily. Firemen and other rescue workers such as helicopter pilots take life and death risks. Surgeons, other doctors, nurses, phlebotomists all take life and death risks when dealing with patient’s who have deadly and contagious conditions. We all are aware of those risks when we take on these various careers or if we do not appreciate it at the beginning, we quickly learn what is at stake. This is what we choose to do. This is what we accept willingly.

      I strongly believe that we should offer the best equipment to all that is available to accomplish their jobs. I do not believe that it is possible to protect against every potential adverse outcome. And I do not believe that we should accept equipment that is suboptimal for the individual circumstance so that anyone can “feel better” about accepting second ( or much, much lower quality) best since it is “free”. If the police, after objective assessment believe that their greatest need is for an urban designed and proven armored vehicle, then that is what we should provide. I do not believe that we should be providing an admittedly suboptimal vehicle ( by the police, not my assessment) because it is “free”.

    2. Matt Williams

      Two, three, five years ago, name your time frame, before the MRAP was born, this incident would have been handled without the MRAP and the outcome would have been the same.

      Dave, in reading your comment I came away with more questions than I had prior to reading your comment.

      The first, and biggest, question I had was whether the outcome of any one individual event is diagnostic/representative of the collective body of similar events over time. I say that while being in complete agreement with your assessment of how this individual event played out.

      The second question was how far back in time we would have had to go to get to a point “before the MRAP was born”? If I remember the background information correctly, Davis and West Sacramento have had a combined SWAT Team for many decades, and that combined SWAT Team has been supported by a prior generation MRAP since 1996. So, should your “two, three, five years ago” be “twenty, nineteen, eighteen years ago” … and does that timeframe difference tell us anything?

      The third question looks at the flip side of “the outcome would have been the same” and asks “how could the outcome have been different?” The deployment of the MRAP appears to have been precautionary in this particular incident. What risks were those precautions mitigating?

      1. Dave Hart

        Yes, any time frame suits my comment.  I guess my real point is that there has never been a situation where an MRAP was necessary in Davis that I am aware of.  I’m drawing a blank whether there has ever been an officer fired on in Davis.  I recognize the argument “That doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future”, but my point is that militarization of local police forces may play a role in the “need” for militarized services.  A sort of arms race among the weapons-crazy 0.1% who ‘weapon-up’ in response to bigger, badder police; a kind of feedback loop.

        This is substantially the argument being made by a minority of sane police officials with long careers who take the position that putting more weaponry into the equation increases the lethality and chances of shootouts.  These off-center, mentally ill or criminal people are accepting what they view as an implicit challenge from police authority where policing styles become more hostile, less friendly, more militaristic as manifested in part by choices of hardware and how frequently it is displayed.

        1. Michelle Millet

          My point is that militarization of local police forces may play a role in the “need” for militarized services.  A sort of arms race among the weapons-crazy 0.1% who ‘weapon-up’ in response to bigger, badder police; a kind of feedback loop.

          This might be one of the more rational arguments I have heard against civilian police using military grade equipment. Although I do think it is more relevant when discussing the use of weapons by police forces rather then protective equipment.

    3. Alan Miller

      Two, three, five years ago, name your time frame, before the MRAP was born, this incident would have been handled without the MRAP and the outcome would have been the same.

      As it would have been with a nuclear rocket launcher, or a baby’s arm holding an apple.

  14. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    When you refer to the MRAP not being a good fit as attributed to Pytel and other officers you are referring to public perception or reaction, not whether it is a useful and necessary tool.”

    This is incorrect. At the forum in question, Assistant Chief Pytel stated that when he first heard about the possibility of obtainng the MRAP, he was opposed. This was well before their had been any public outcry since it was prior  to acquisition. He was clear that he did not think it would go over well in our town, however, he stated that his concerns were mainly that it was not designed for use in our setting and that it had logistical weaknesses in the urban setting. He further stated that it was only after much discussion about the low price that he came around to agreement with the acquisition and that his preference would still have been to obtain an armored vehicle designed for our setting.

    Again, I think it wold be nice for those who favor the acquisition if the opponents were opposed only on the grounds of sentiment, however, this is not the case. There are logistical as well as emotional reasons for not wanting the MRAP just as they are emotional as well as practical reasons for wanting if. It may be easier and more satisfying to simply sit back and accuse the other side of emotionalism or ignorance, but as was pointed out at the forum, this issue is just not that simple regardless of your philosophic tendencies.

  15. Miwok

    this issue is just not that simple regardless of your philosophic tendencies.

    I agree with this concept, as some peoples of the world live their principles no matter what. As some actors who star in high profile movies waving guns around, then star in a PSA for gun control, Davis citizens run the gamut with this as well.

    Christians in Syria are pacifists and are victims of others, no matter who rules.

    Will they vote to put the Police in harm’s way with no way to defend themselves?

    A couple of thoughts: The MRAP was given away, and still came back, even appearing on TV now. When the posts suggesting a different vehicle are read, they give no thought to the cost, just what they want. Many of our recent officer hires are war trained with these types of vehicles. Just because it is unfamiliar to YOU, does not mean they are not the best “tool for the job”. To quote Dirty Harry: “It’s a hell of a price to pay for being stylish”.

    The other is more logistical, as I spent time caring for and maintaining specialized vehicles that sat for long periods of time. I think people need to be mindful of what we have in the fleet, even if just for kids to crawl over and see. Those things also need to be run and exercised, or they break down.

  16. Tia Will

    Hi Michelle

    I don’t have strong feelings about the MRAP one way or the other”

    I guess I am a little confused. I thought ( but could be wrong, that you had spoken in public comment in favor of retention of the MRAP). I clearly recall a conversation between the two of us during a city council meeting break in which you spoke quite clearly in favor of the MRAP and told me that you did not understand why anyone would oppose it, which led to me telling you about my personal concerns. Can you clarify ?

    1. Michelle Millet

      I spoke in favor of the police possessing a vehicle that could  offer them protection when they were engaging in situations like the tragic one that occurred in Davis the other night. The MRAP happened to be the vehicle that could serve this purpose that was in their possesion at the time, so I spoke in favor of keeping it.

      I also expressed disagreement over some of the stated reasons given by community and council members as to why we should not keep this vehicle. For example I don’t think the fact this vehicle had been used by the military was a valid reason not to keep it, nor do I think that the fact that it looks like a tank was a reason to deny our police access to piece of protective equipment.

       

  17. Tia Will

    Miwok

    Many of our recent officer hires are war trained with these types of vehicles. Just because it is unfamiliar to YOU, does not mean they are not the best “tool for the job”.”

    Two thoughts about this.

    First, I do not find it entirely reassuring that many of our recent officer hires are war trained with these types of vehicles. My concern is that under a stressful situation, they may have a tendency to revert to their “war training” and preparedness and act in ways that are not commensurate with or appropriate to the civilian situation.

    One point of complete agreement. It is absolutely irrelevant whether the MRAP is or is not familiar to me. What is relevant is that at least some of our local police did not feel that the MRAP was the best tool for the job. I chose to attend one of the police/community conversations as well as the original police presentation at the CC precisely because I did not know enough about this vehicle to have an informed opinion. Unfortunately, I did not feel reassured by either of these presentations that there was strong evidence ( or really any statistical evidence) that this would be the best protective option for the police.

    1. Miwok

      My concern is that under a stressful situation, they may have a tendency to revert to their “war training” and preparedness and act in ways that are not commensurate with or appropriate to the civilian situation.

      I agree some people “Go Rambo”, but not well trained military or Police. They run too many drills and many of the sketchy ones don’t make it through. My point was the learning curve in a new vehicle would be shortened with personnel that had used it or similar types previously.

      There are “Rules of Engagement” in War, at least for our troops in battle. It is hard for a team to go off the reservation, to mine a cliche, and hide bad behavior. What this forum does also is point it out is when people ARE acting outside their authority. People who take an oath to uphold the law then once elected try to circumvent or change it are not worth having in office, and we could all make a list.

      If Davis does not want an MRAP, or spend the money on a Bearcat, then why not beef up the SUVs they are getting? Those are not armored, but one or two might be at less cost. There are armored limos and such, but please consider these guys wearing all the stuff they do need wide doors and headroom?

      I get the impression the City of Davis views their Law Enforcement as Bobbies with a stick, not a professional program. Not arresting violators would sure make the crime rate go down, huh? Everyone would be happy happy happy.

  18. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

     In your medical scenario there would be no operation and the young lady would not have the operation because there was no surgical equipment”

    This is not accurate. In the case of the young lady needing surgery, she would have had it anyway. I performed many, many surgeries before robotized equipment was even invented. My point is that I am not sure, and I do not believe that anyone can state from the information provided so far that the MRAPs were of any use at all. If it turns out that they were indeed needed and they did indeed save officer lives, then I would agree with you that this would be a positive.

    However, if we are going to make up pretend scenarios, which is the only thing that any one on this blog is doing so far as best I can tell, let’s consider this one. Let’s suppose that the shooter struck the victim and then committed suicide. The victim however is not dead but is slowly hemorrhaging. Now let’s suppose that because of some incorrect or irrelevant information posted on Facebook ( or any other social media for that matter) they erroneously ,as subsequently determined , decide that there is risk to them when there factually was not., but they delayed entry out of fear and the victim dies. Then, suddenly the decision to use the MRAP does not look like such a good plan.

    Back to the surgical scenario. If the patient is stable and the case is elective and she wants to await the arrival or availability of a robotic instrument, I would be fine with that. If she is hemorrhaging and there is no time, I am going to do her surgery immediately regardless of whether or not I have access to the robot, and in fact whether or not I happen to know her HIV or Ebola status. Life is uncertain. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and phlebotomists are frequently put at risk by the absence of adequate information or the best equipment, especially when working in remote areas which I have done in the past. That does not stop us from doing the job that we have trained for and voluntarily signed up to do, and I feel that most police would agree that they should do the same.

  19. DavisBurns

    What if one of the people inside was still alive? Hours delay would have been fatal.  If they were sure they were dead, why the delay?  If not, time was of the essence.  Surely they heard uncontrolled barking inside in addition to a lack of human response to their megaphone messages.  They knew there were pets inside but they still used gas and flash bangs.  While it is not funny, it has all the elements of a Comedy Central spoof on police methods.

    If we want to be concerned about public employees who put their lives at risk, please put CalTrans maintenance workers at the top of your list and leave police and fireman out of the top ten.

    1. Dave Hart

      I have the feeling, after watching this incident and others in town, that some situations are becoming training opportunities.  If you put two and two together, it was not beyond reason that this was a murder-suicide from the time Joseph made the 911 call.  For all I can tell, the police must have suspected or even knew this, but didn’t want to waste a good training opportunity.  There simply aren’t many opportunities to deploy these sophisticated systems and when they come along, the many jurisdictions all want to be involved.  I actually can support that approach if it is acknowledged by our regional police jurisdictions.  It gives them more credibility, not less.

    2. Alan Miller

      If we want to be concerned about public employees who put their lives at risk, please put CalTrans maintenance workers at the top of your list and leave police and fireman out of the top ten.

      Y’know, I think you are on to something here.  If we deployed a MRAP to every highway repair job and placed it between traffic and highway workers, maybe drunk idiots would plow into the MRAP instead of plowing into highway workers.  Would more lives be saved that way than deploying MRAPs to police departments?

  20. Michelle Millet

    My guess is that they were making ever effort to get to any potential victims as soon as possible, with out putting the lives of any one else in danger. I also imagine that they feel great regret over the fact that they could not get to the victims sooner. Suggesting that the police were willing to let people die in order to take advantage of a training opportunity has horrible implications, that I’m hoping you did mean to suggest.

     

    1. Dave Hart

      That’s not what I imply at all.  I think they suspected there was nothing much they could do by the time they arrived.  I happen to think the DPD is one helluva lot better than a lot of police forces around.  They behaved far better on the campus pepper spray incident than the UCD force.

      On that note, I was reminded of the hostage standoff at the Bank of America Bank Branch in Davis in 1982.  Real guns, no MRAP, no fatalities.  That’s the kind of policing I prefer to see.

      1. Alan Miller

        They behaved far better on the campus pepper spray incident than the UCD force.

        Amen to that.

        Real guns, no MRAP, no fatalities.  That’s the kind of policing I prefer to see.

        Amen to that.

         

    2. hpierce

      I strongly suspect that if the PD went in immediately, they’d have found… two dead people.  We’ll see (maybe?) what the PD investigation shows.

  21. Barack Palin

    It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback after the fact that the police had no idea what they might be walking into.  Any and all safety measures they took at the time were totally warranted to help secure the officer’s safety.

  22. hpierce

    Re:  ‘headline’… thus far, I see one victim, and one perpetrator.  I also have a hard time thinking of the co-pilot who locked out the pilot on the Germanwings flight as a “victim”.  There were ~149 victims.  One “perp”.

    Just wish those who become intent on murder/suicide would reverse their strategy.  We could get murder out of the equation.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      FWIW, I’m told our filtering process for pilots is much better than many countries. We have track records that go back for many years, and many pilots come up through the military.

      RE Germany, why didn’t his medical doctors immediately alert his superiors to his mental state…??? Very sad that this lesson has to be learned.

  23. Dave Hart

    In an article published in the New Yorker a few days ago about the Germanwings aircraft horror story (http://nyr.kr/1IBBkmA) suggests there is no sense to be made of that act or the murder/suicide; rather, it can be viewed as an act of God.

    Both of these men were young (both pilots) apparently full of promise and yet desperately driven to destroy themselves and others in a way that maximizes public shock and attention.  “Depression” doesn’t explain this any better than other high-profile suicides. We are experiencing a profound spiritual crisis rooted in alienation from nature, community, or faith in anything.  From that perspective, I don’t believe clinical diagnoses of depression explains or illuminates as much as desperation regardless of whether there is mental illness or not.

  24. Alan Miller

    I haven’t read the comments yet, but anyone who makes the MRAP the center of the discussion of this incident can kiss my purple hat, and my ass.

    Now, I’ll go back and read the comments . . .

    My prediction:  two people are dead, and the usual suspects have used the event to prop up their agenda and have recycled the MRAP debate.

    1. Alan Miller

      . . . and, as I predicted, one big crappy, mrappy discussion with nothing new that wasn’t said before, and very little of substance about the incident.

      Thanks, vacuous people.

  25. TrueBlueDevil

    How long did they wait to send in police?

    Why not immediately send in remote-controlled toy truck w/ camera and mic, and/ or send in police dogs with same?

    While I literally have no dog in this fight, feeding a few dogs and keeping a remote controlled toy truck in working condition is probably less costly than keeping an MRAP tuned up.

    Just sayin.

  26. Tia Will

    TBD

    While we are thinking creatively here with no pretense on my part to any expertise in this area, how about a drone armed only with a camera with the ability to obtain 360 degree views. Just wondering what is on the forefront and possible less expensive and not so susceptible to notching up the level of violence as another commenter posted earlier on the thread ?

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