Robert Reese was shot by Sacramento County sheriff's deputies after he answered the door with a knife.
SACRAMENTO, CA - A knock on one man's apartment door ultimately led to him being shot twice by deputies and now, a federal lawsuit.
Sacramento resident Robert Reese said a loud knock at his apartment door at 4:30 a.m. is what led him to arm himself with a butcher's knife, not knowing who was on the other side.
"I look out the peep hole, I look out the window," Reese recalled. "I see two dark shadows. I don't see the people, I see dark shadows."
According to Sacramento County investigative records, deputies were responding to a 911 call of shots fired and knocked on Reese's door.
"I had no idea that it was law enforcement at all," Reese said. "They didn't announce themselves when I asked who it was."
Reese said when he opened the door, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies told him to drop the knife before shooting him twice.
Reese filed a 14-page lawsuit in federal court accusing the sheriff's department of excessive force. He said he never threatened officers with the knife.
News10 has read through more than 100 pages of records, deputy statements and 911 calls given to us by Reese's own attorney. The documents reveal Reese admitted to investigators he was "drunk and high" after attending a party that night.
Reese's attorney says drugs and alcohol played no role with his behavior with deputies.
Records do show deputies did not identify themselves saying quote 'it's not something we regularly do. You know yell out sheriff's department."
Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos wouldn't comment on the specifics of this case because of the lawsuit, but said it's not necessary for deputies to identify themselves unless there's a search or arrest warrant involved.
"If we just received one call, then we will not go banging on a door and say, 'sheriff's dept sheriff's department.' We may conduct an investigative follow up," Ramos said.
According to deputy statements, they felt threatened with the knife in Reese's hands because he "had it above his head with his arm completely extended." The deputy also said, "fearing for deputy rose's life I shot my rifle, took it off safe, shot one round."
Reese's attorney said they hope to hear a response from the county in a month. A possible court date could be in a year.