Two sheriff’s deputies who shot a man near Lompoc earlier this year will not be held criminally liable for their actions, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
The DA’s Office released the information Wednesday after reviewing the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into the Feb. 23, 2022 non-fatal shooting of Rudy Angel Delgadillo, 24, in Providence Landing.
The report states that around 1:30 that afternoon, deputies responded to reports of a reckless driver who ran away after crashing into parked vehicles and a fence.
Deputies Ross VanTassel and Yeshella Jimenez reportedly located the suspect, identified as Delgadillo, near a clubhouse in a neighborhood along the 600 block of Mercury Avenue.
The report states one of the deputies told the suspect to raise his hands and get on his knees, but Delgadillo ignored the commands, instead lifting his jacket and reaching into his waistband.
The report says VanTassel felt he could not deescalate the situation because the suspect wouldn’t interact with him, so fearing Delgadillo may have had a gun based on his actions and stance, the deputies shot at him, the DA’s Office said.
The report states VanTassel first fired eight shots in the suspect’s direction and that Jimenez fired one shot.
“After the initial volley of shots, Deputy VanTassel looked at Delgadillo and said he was digging into his waistband again. Deputy VanTassel felt that Delgadillo was reaching into his waistband to produce a second weapon so he fired two more shots,” the report states.
Delgadillo was hit once in the shoulder and released from the hospital a short time later, officials say in the report, which says the suspect’s blood was tested shortly after the shooting and tested positive for amphetamines.
A day after the shooting, deputies tried to interview Delgadillo. “After Miranda warnings were given, Delgadillo stated that he had been having some personal problems and that he just wanted to tell them that he had been having some personal problems. After that statement, Delgadillo said he did not want to speak further,” the report states.
Because the deputies believed the suspect posted an imminent threat to them, intending to cause them serious bodily harm or death, the DA’s Office says the shooting was justified.
The sheriff's office had previously said no weapon associated with the suspect was found at the scene.
To read the full report, click here.