Yuba City woman shot, killed by police after census worker run-in

3:00 PM, May 22, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Police kill Yuba City woman following census worker run-in

  • Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin
  • Lionel Patterson, 51.

YUBA CITY, CA - A Yuba City woman who police say was involved in a confrontation with a U.S. Census worker was shot and killed by Yuba City officers after allegedly refusing to drop a shotgun pointed at the officers, according to the Yuba City Police Department.

The Sutter County Coroner's Office identified the woman as Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin, 67, of Yuba City. Officers also arrested Lionel Patterson, 51, who was with Roger-Vasselin at the Mariner Loop home Thursday evening, Yuba City police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey said.

Census Bureau spokesman Sonny Le said a census worker arrived at the home sometime around 8 p.m. Thursday. After refusing to submit to census questions, the worker said  the residents aimed a gun at her.

Le said the census worker was upset and took some time to compose herself before calling her supervisor in Fairfield, who in turn contacted Yuba police. 

When officers arrived at the Mariner Loop home around 10 p.m., they were approached by Patterson, who was holding a handgun, Pavey said. While officers were able to talk Patterson into putting down his gun, investigators say Patterson was struggling with the officers when Roger-Vasselin came to the door with a shotgun.

"You have officers on the ground dealing with Mr. Patterson," Pavey said. "These two officers are standing in the path of this female, who is advancing toward them with a shotgun pointed at them. They repeatedly ordered her to put the gun down, and when she did not comply with those orders, it left them no other alternatives but to shoot."

Pavey said Roger-Vasselin was pronounced dead at the scene.

"A bunch of things I think went wrong. It was late at night. (My mother) was startled at the door and I think the police were startled to see her holding some protection," Roger-Vasselin's son Matt Biscotti said. "It happened real fast, it was dark, and it was all quick.  We're going to get to the bottom of it."

Biscotti said his mother was still inside the home when she was hit, and that the gun she was carrying was not loaded.

Le said door-to-door census workers are instructed to visit homes late in the afternoon, evenings and weekends when most people are home. He said workers are not supposed to be out past sunset.

Pavey said all five officers at the scene of the shooting were placed on administrative leave as the department investigated the incident.


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