Contra Costa DA Declines to File Charges in Killing of Tyrell Wilson by Sheriff’s Deputies

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Martinez, CA – The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Deputy Andrew Hall in the 2021 fatal shooting of Tyrell Wilson.

The DA’s office released a Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI) report, part of Contra Costa County’s protocol that investigates when police officers or civilians are shot or die during an encounter with law enforcement.

The finding comes despite the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors approving a $4.5 million settlement for the family in May and following Wilson’s conviction last fall for unlawfully firing his police gun ten times into a car driven by Laudemer Arboleda, who died from the shooting.  Arboleda was also homeless and mentally impaired when he was killed on November 3, 2018.

Hall was sentenced to six years in prison for that killing.

The incident involving Deputy Andrew Hall and Tyrell Wilson occurred on March 11, 2021, in the Town of Danville.  At 11:45 am, the CHP received multiple calls reporting that someone on the Sycamore Valley Road overpass was throwing rocks onto Interstate 680.

Hall responded to the call, exited his vehicle and followed Wilson into the intersection while engaging in a verbal back-and-forth.

Wilson told Deputy Hall: “No. Don’t [explicative] touch me!”

At this point, Wilson pulled out a folding knife from his jacket and held the blade by his right thigh.

Wilson took five steps away from the deputy, staying, “Touch me and see what’s up. Touch me and see what’s up.”

Deputy Hall unholstered his firearm, pointed it at Wilson, and ordered him to “drop the knife” three times. Wilson took 2-3 steps toward Deputy Hall, raised the knife up to his chest, looked up at the sky, and said, “Kill me.” Deputy Hall then took approximately three steps backward and shot Wilson once in the head, causing him to collapse to the ground.

Wilson was transported by ambulance to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. He died from a fatal gunshot wound two days later.

A copy of the report will be sent to AG Rob Bonta.

Under the law, an officer is not criminally liable for the death if he “reasonably believed, based on the totality of the circumstances, that the force was necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

Deputy Hall in this incident stated that, at the moment he fired the weapon, he believed Wilson “was a threat to cause him death or serious bodily injury.”

The report notes, “Deputy Hall’s statement is direct evidence of his mental state regarding his belief that he acted in self-defense.”

The report notes, “A juror could reasonably conclude that the officers, including Deputy Hall, were responding to a serious and potentially life-threatening situation,” and that Deputy Hall did “attempt to utilize time and distance once Tyrell Wilson brandished his knife.”

D.A. Diana Becton notes, “This was a difficult and challenging case. My legal team and I spent a considerable amount of time and resources evaluating the evidence before coming to this conclusion. As a community, we need to find ways to de-escalate law enforcement encounters where the use of force leads to tragic outcomes. The loss of Tyrell Wilson’s life weighs on our community and I express my deepest condolences to the Wilson family.”

In May Attorney John Burris offered a different version of events, however.

“Tyrell Wilson would be alive today if the Sheriff had suspended and or fired Officer Hall instead of exonerating him after the officer’s cold-blooded shooting of Laudemer Arboleda,” said Civil Rights Attorney John Burris who represented Wilson’s family.

He explained, “A jury found that Hall violated his training and the departments’ general orders by firing into a slow-moving car. However, the Sheriff consistently condoned the officer’s conduct by making excuses for him.”

Burris continued, “Officer Hall’s conduct in killing Tyrell was especially egregious in that Hall was the aggressor and could have easily de-escalated the situation, yet he chose confrontation and escalation.”

In March of 2021, Burris noted, Wilson was mentally impaired and there was a video of the incident.

Tyrell was reportedly shot after a foot chase where the officer believed that Tyrell was throwing rocks from the freeway.  After a brief chase, the officer claims that Tyrell approached him with a knife, and the officer shot him once in the face.

Burris said, “Witnesses said the officer shot him when he was not advancing on (the officer).”

“The cop claimed he was,” Burris added.

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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