By Lauren Smith
NAPA – There have been three killings by Napa County sheriff’s deputies over the past year and a half—in the last six months, they killed an unarmed man and shot another man who was walking away.
The latest death came Monday when unarmed 47-year-old motorist and Mexican national Juan Adrian Garcia was fatally shot by Sgt. David Ackman, who had pulled Juan Garcia over for driving without his headlights on shortly after 10 p.m.
Newly released body camera video shows Garcia tossing a cellphone out of the window before exiting the vehicle. Garcia began to “advance aggressively,” according to authorities, toward Ackman while keeping one hand behind his back.
In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office stated that “the deputy retreated while repeatedly asking the subject to stop and show his hands, but Garcia refused to comply.
“For nearly a minute,” the news release continued, Ackman attempted to de-escalate the situation. When Garcia got within close range, “perceiving a deadly threat,” Ackman shot him five times in the torso and once in the leg.
Soon after the shooting, deputies arrived at the scene and administered CPR and first aid. Garcia was rushed to the hospital but died Tuesday night.
Sheriff John Robertson stated in a news conference that Ackman believed Garcia could have had a gun; however, no weapon was found. Authorities stated that Garcia’s blood alcohol level was 0.338, more than four times the legal limit.
Sheriff’s Captain Cullen Dodd stated that the sergeant drew his weapon when Garcia exited the car but holstered it when it seemed as if Garcia would submit to an arrest. Ackman drew his weapon again when Garcia advanced on him and “ignored orders to comply.”
“The training of the Napa County Sheriff’s Department when we are by ourselves and faced with a deadly threat and Sgt. Ackman believes he was faced with a deadly threat,” Dodd continued, “is that we were going to meet that threat with our own lethal force.”
Captain Dodd went on to state that, “At no time did Sgt. Ackman believe Mr. Garcia did not have a deadly threat. A taser is not the right tool to bring to a situation where he believes his own life is in danger.”
According to protocol, Ackman was placed on paid administrative leave, and the shooting is currently under investigation by the Major Crimes Task Force.
On April 24 this year, deputy Gregg Lee shot and killed Brandan Nylander in the back as he was walking away, according to footage.
Nylander, who was suspected of stealing ammunition from the Napa Walmart, was chased by Lee and his partner until he drove onto a service road and stopped in front of a locked gate.
Dash camera footage shows Nylander exiting his vehicle holding a shotgun. Lee fired two shots that both missed Nylander, before shooting an additional two times – the fourth time was fatal.
The four shots occurred in four seconds, and footage shows Nylander turning his back to the deputies and moving towards the front of his vehicle when he was shot.
This fatal shooting is also under investigation by the Major Crimes Task Force.
On February 17, 2019 deputy Riley Jarecki shot and killed 43-year-old Javier Hernandez Morales.
Jarecki noticed a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road and approached it. After a short conversation with Hernandez, body camera footage shows the driver shooting Jarecki through the open window.
Napa County DA Allison Haley cleared Jarecki stating that the deputy “returned fire to save her own life” and “her actions were a reasonable and lawful response.”
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