VIDEO: California Deputy Fatally Shoots Robbery Suspect Armed With Shotgun
Napa, CA – The Napa County Sheriff’s Office released dashcam video on Tuesday of a police-involved shooting that left an armed-robbery suspect dead (video below).
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said the incident began just before 2 p.m. on April 24 when 24-year-old Brandan Reid Nylander left his home with a shotgun and hammer and headed to his local Walmart store, the Napa Valley Register reported.
The Napa County 911 call center received a call at 2:09 p.m. reporting that a man had smashed a case at Walmart and stolen a case of shotgun shells.
Sheriff Robertson said the suspect threw his hammer at a store employee and fled, the Napa Valley Register reported.
The sheriff said the employee sustained only minor injuries in the incident.
The suspect – later identified as Nylander – left the Walmart in a dark-gray Mazda with a personalized license plate that read “GOT BEAT” and Walmart staff were able to give the detailed description to authorities, the Napa Valley Register reported.
Sheriff Robertson said Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Gregg Lee spotted Nylander’s car at 2:25 p.m. heading south on Highway 29 and tried to stop him.
But Nylander escaped by driving 75 mph down the shoulder and then fled westbound on Airport Boulevard, the Napa Valley Register reported.
Deputy Lee pursued the Mazda and caught up with him just before Nylander turned onto an access road that was blocked by a big metal gate.
Dashcam video showed that the suspect rammed his car into the gate but it barely budged.
So Nylander put the car in park, popped his driver’s door open, and got out of the Mazda wearing a t-shirt that said “Death Proof” and holding a shotgun, the video showed.
The video showed that initially Nylander was facing the deputy’s car when he got out of the car holding the shotgun.
Sheriff Robertson said the gun was pointed at Deputy Lee and another deputy who had just arrived at the scene on a motorcycle, the Napa Valley Register reported.
The sheriff said Deputy Lee opened fire on the armed suspect and fired two shots, but both of them missed Nylander.
The video showed that Nylander then turned and raised his hands in the air, holding the weapon in his left hand, and began walking toward the front of his car.
Sheriff Robertson said Deputy Lee fired twice more and hit Nylander in the butt and the back of the neck, the Napa Valley Register reported.
He said medics arrived on the scene and attempted to render aid, but the suspect was declared dead at the scene at 2:40 p.m.
Deputy Lee, who is a 20-year veteran of the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, was placed on paid administrative leave while the incident was investigated as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings, the Napa Valley Register reported.
Sheriff Robertson said preliminary testing indicated the presence of drugs in Nylander’s system when he died, but further testing by the U.S. Department of Justice has not yet been completed.
“Had I been in the same situation on the same timeline, I would have taken the exact same action as Deputy Lee had taken,” the sheriff told reporters. “... Mr. Nylander, by his own action, was a threat to the deputies.”
He said Nylander had left a note for his family before he left to rob the Walmart that indicated he was “distraught,” the Napa Valley Register reported.
His aunt, with whom Nylander lived, posted a message to social media that said her nephew had struggled with mental health issues and she believed he had planned to kill himself.
Friends described the 24 year old as a “gentle giant” who had struggled with depression since his mother died in 2012, the Napa Valley Register reported.
“This is a tragedy for all involved,” Sheriff Robertson said. “It’s a tragedy for Mr. Nylander and his family, and it’s a tragedy for Deputy Lee and his family.”
Court records showed that Nylander had no criminal history in Napa County, and had only speeding tickets in Placer County, the Napa Valley Register reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning - Graphic Content: