SONOMA COUNTY (BCN) - A man fatally shot by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies Thursday night had kept an acquaintance in his car against her will while he fled sheriff's deputies through locked gates and road blocks before crashing, Santa Rosa police said.
After he crashed the car, a sheriff's deputy shot the man, identified as 37-year-old Richard Shreckengaust of Marin County, believing he was reaching for a weapon while he refused to come out of his car. The investigation was handed over to Santa Rosa police according to the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Employee-Involved Fatal Incident Protocol.
Police in San Rafael were first alerted to the kidnapping at 10:25 p.m. when the victim sent text messages to a friend saying she was being driven to Sonoma County against her will, police and sheriff's officials said.
The victim later told authorities that she had known Shreckengaust since January and had agreed to see him Thursday night. The two were not and had never been dating, Santa Rosa police said.
While driving, the two smoked marijuana together, but after that the victim told authorities that Shreckengaust was acting strangely and frightened her, talking about having explosives in the car.
She asked to be dropped off at Terra Linda but he refused and continued driving north on U.S. Highway 101.
When Sonoma County sheriff's deputies caught up with the car, he told the victim, "It's on," according to police, and sped away on state Highway 116 toward Guerneville, swerving around spike strips set up by deputies to disable his car.
The pursuit went onto Odd Fellows Park Road, where Shreckengaust allegedly smashed his car through a gate to a gated community. He continued driving through the community and park, in a narrow space between two buildings, and through two additional police barricades.
During the pursuit, the victim told authorities that Shreckengaust was smoking what she thought was methamphetamine, according to police.
Finally, at about 11:20 p.m., he was unable to make a turn and went off the road, colliding with an embankment. The victim was uninjured and ran away from the car to the sheriff's deputies and behind a patrol car.
The deputies ordered Shreckengaust to put his hands outside of the car, and he did but took them back in several times. Deputies used dogs to try and get him out of the car, breaking the window and sending the dog in.
One deputy saw him reach for something, and fearing it might be a weapon, fired two to three shots. Deputies took him from the vehicle and performed first aid, but Shreckengaust was pronounced dead at the scene.
A search of his car did not locate any weapons, police said.
The names of the deputies involved have not been released pending further investigation. Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3590.
Bay City News