Lawmen cleared in incident Officers fired 104 shots after man pointed gun BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer Sep 7, 2007 http://www.bakersfield.com/102/story/231143.html All 11 officers and sheriff’s personnel who fired more than 100 shots at a man on Aug. 27 acted properly “to protect their lives and the lives of others,” officials announced Friday. The man shot to death, 24-year-old Jesus German Sarabia, pointed a gun at the lawmen after they tried for nearly four minutes to get him to drop the weapon, said Sheriff Donny Youngblood. He and Bakersfield Police Chief Bill Rector answered questions about the shooting at a news conference at Sheriff’s Department headquarters Friday morning. Asked if 104 shots were excessive, Youngblood said there’s no magic number for what would be appropriate. The officers shot until the threat was over, he said. Earlier in the day, the Bakersfield Police Department’s shooting review board announced its officers acted within departmental policy and state and federal guidelines. The Sheriff’s Department’s review board also determined the sergeant and three deputies involved in the shooting acted within the law. Sarabia, also known as German Cohen, refused to drop his gun as he lay underneath a camper shell in the backyard of 2602 Lake St., officers reported. Thirty-four bullets were removed from his body. The shooting was over in a matter of seconds, Youngblood said. When asked why officers didn’t just shoot Sarabia in the foot, Youngblood responded that officers would be jeopardizing their safety if they tried to do that. “If you shoot someone intentionally in the foot or the arm, as we see on TV, you now have someone who is still armed with a handgun, only they’re angry,” Youngblood said. “The time that you process to do exactly what you’re talking about, you’re a dead officer.” “We don’t shoot to wound, that’s television,” Youngblood added. The BPD officers fired a total of 62 times, while sheriff’s personnel fired 42 rounds. Rector said officers showed incredible restraint in spending several minutes trying to get Sarabia to surrender. Dealing with an armed suspect is always a tense situation, and in this case officers had received reports that shots had been fired in the area, Rector said. Youngblood said he does not believe Sarabia fired his gun. One of the bullets fired by lawmen actually entered Sarabia’s gun, jamming the bullet that was in the chamber, he said. The incident began late on the evening of Aug. 26 when officers received reports of shots fired from a vehicle at two places near Barlow Street, according to reports. Sarabia was one of three suspects chased in connection with those reports. The suspects stopped their vehicle at 2615 Monterey St. and Sarabia pointed what appeared to be a handgun at one of the deputies who had been chasing them, according to law enforcement reports. The other two suspects, Antonio Villa Ribera, 23, and Gerardo Chavez Valencia, 22, both of Bakersfield, were arrested shortly afterward, reports said. Sarabia was found under the camper shell and the shooting happened a few minutes later. The BPD officers involved in the shooting were Senior Officers Joseph Dougherty and Charles Sherman, and Officers Brent Stratton, Patrick Mara, Stephen Kauffman, Sean Underhill and Kevin Setser, reports said. The sheriff’s personnel were Sgt. John Fowler and Deputies Michael Blue, Justin Weidenkopf and Charles Moore.