Inquest jury finds last July’s Antioch Police shooting death justified

Gas station clerk murdered during armed robbery

Armed robbery and murder suspect Zepp Crouchet, shot and killed by Antioch Police July 3, 2017. Herald file photo

By Daniel Borsuk

A 12-member Contra Costa County inquest jury unanimously found an Antioch police officer’s shooting of an armed robber and murderer of a Valero gas station clerk last July as an appropriate shooting on Thursday.  (See related articles, here and here)

After listening to nearly two hours of testimony jurors found that 42-year-old Zepp McKinley Crouchet of El Cerrito had died at the hands of another person, other than by accident. “That means it was a totally appropriate shooting,” said Matthew Guichard, a Walnut Creek attorney serving as the inquest hearing presiding officer.

During deliberations, jurors had four options to consider in the proceeding.  Those options included finding the cause of death by natural causes, by suicide or self-destruction, by accident, or by the hand of another person.

During the inquest called by Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston to investigate law enforcement-related homicide cases, the jury found that 16-year Antioch Police Department veteran Kris Kent was justified when he discharged his firearm after witnessing a fight in progress inside the Valero gas station at the 1800 block of Hillcrest Avenue at 7:30 p.m. on July 3 between the gas station clerk Mohamad Jawad Ataie, 57, of Antioch and the robbery suspect Crouchet. See Sheriff’s Office Press Release,  here: 180104 Inquest finding Crouchet

Gas station clerk Mohammad “Jawad” Ataie, the victim of Crouchet’s armed robbery and murder. Herald file photo

Crouchet had a crime record dating back to 2004 when he was charged on three counts of robbery, one count of burglary and being with a felon in possession of a weapon.  In 2006, Crouchet took a plea deal and was sentenced to six years in prison with two years credit for time served.

More than $30,000 in donations have been collected on behalf of the family of Mohamad Jawad Ataie to help pay for funeral expenses and other expenses since his murder.

Once Officer Kent stepped inside the gas station, no more than 30 seconds had elapsed when the officer fired his service weapon twice, striking Crouchet both times, he testified.  The wounded Crouchet was able to run out of the gas station and fled across Hillcrest Avenue into the backyard of a nearby daycare center.

Crouchet was not found until July 4 dead in his Cadillac about a mile away from the Valero gas station at A Street and W. 20th Street.

During the inquest, officer Kent stated he had fired his gun twice, but Dr. Ikechi Ogan, a well- known forensic pathologist, testified that he had found three bullet wounds in the victim’s body.

“The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.  I found three gun shot wounds,” said Dr. Ogan.  “There was no evidence of close range fire.”

“There were other extenuating causes for the victim’s death,” Dr. Ogan said.  The doctor found 18 milligrams of alcohol and 38 milligrams of methamphetamines in Crouchet’s body.

The wounded gas station clerk Atawie was rushed to John Muir Hospital in Concord where he later died of his gunshot wounds from Crouchet’s Tech 9 firearm during their scuffle behind the cash register.

 

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180104 Inquest finding Crouchet
180104 Inquest finding Crouchet


6 Comments to “Inquest jury finds last July’s Antioch Police shooting death justified”

  1. Rjb says:

    Darn. Better luck next time, Zepp.

  2. Kathy says:

    RIP Mr. Ataie. Sorry for your Loss to his Family.

  3. Joe says:

    Crazy didn’t really know the guy but used to see him all the time when I was younger, RIP

  4. garb9869786 says:

    Can someone explain to me where 20th Avenue is??? Whoever wrote this garbage should be fired. Whoever let that error be published should be fired. I mean if you want to run a newspaper, at least take pride in it.

    • Publisher says:

      garb9869786,
      Thank you for reading the Herald.
      The correction has been made to this article.
      But, seriously? Couldn’t you have simply let us know there was a minor mistake in the article and that the word “Avenue” should be “Street”?
      The reporter who wrote it doesn’t live in Antioch, and I, who do, didn’t catch it. But, seriously it’s not that big of a deal as the original article about the incident had it correct when that was an important part of the story. – http://antiochherald.com/2017/07/05ah1/
      Please keep reading and if we possibly make another mistake, feel free to let us know, but preferably in a more respectful, appreciative way for this free source of local news that we provide you. Because I’m not going to fire our reporter or myself over such a minor mistake. You have such high standards. Hope you can live up to them in your own life and work! LOL
      Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor

      • garb9869786 says:

        Appreciative way? You aren’t writing this paper for me. What I would appreciate is a paper that prints things correctly. You might be a free paper, but you don’t have to look like one. You have Advertisers.

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