Archive for the ‘Sheriff-Coroner’ Category

Body found on Delta levee Saturday identified as missing boater from Daly City

Monday, May 7th, 2018

One fisherman was rescued from the river near the Antioch bridge by Contra Costa Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, Saturday, April 28, 2017. Screenshot from NBC Bay Area.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, at approximately 2:11 PM, Contra Costa County Marine Patrol Deputy Sheriffs responded to a report of a body on the levee at False River near the San Joaquin River. Deputies arrived on scene a short time later and recovered the body.

The Coroner’s Division took custody of the male body. He was later positively identified as 39-year-old Johnson Ng of Daly City. Ng is the missing boater who fell from a vessel on April 28, 2018.

According to an ABC7 news report, “Initial reports from deputies said two men were on a boat trying to set an anchor to start fishing when a wake came along. The wake hit the boat, the men fell off and they did not have life jackets on, according to sheriff’s officials. A passing boat rescued one of the men.”

An autopsy will be held to determine the cause of death.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Extensive search for missing fisherman in the water near Antioch bridge unsuccessful Saturday

Monday, April 30th, 2018

One fisherman rescued from the river near the Antioch bridge by Contra Costa Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, Saturday, April 28, 2017. Screenshot from NBC Bay Area.

Sheriff’s Marine Patrol assisted by Coast Guard helicopters, state Fish and Wildlife, Contra Costa Fire

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Saturday morning at approximately 8:25, Marine Patrol deputies heard a distress call on the radio. It was reported that two men had fallen off a boat near the Antioch Bridge and were struggling in the water. Marine Patrol units responded immediately and within minutes arrived on scene. A deputy located one of the victims who was pulled out of the water by a passing boater. The other boater was missing. The boaters were apparently at the time attempting to set an anchor to fish when their boat was hit by a wake causing both to fall overboard. Both of them were not wearing life jackets.

The missing boater is not being identified at this time. An extensive area search by Coast Guard helicopters, state Fish and Wildlife, and Contra Costa Fire and Sheriff’s Office patrol vessels was suspended at about 3:30 PM. He was not located.

Anyone with any information on this missing boater is asked to contact the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff at 925-646-2441.

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Supervisors approve major Buchanan Airport mixed-use project, more airport projects planned

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Sheriff-Coroner awarded $400,000 in grants

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa Supervisors flashed the green light on Tuesday for county airport officials to ink a long-term lease with a Southern California developer to build a 52,000 square foot, single story mixed-use building at 550 Sally Ride Drive near Buchanan Field Airport in Concord.

The supervisors’ 4-0 action serves as a signal that more commercial and aviation related developments are in the pipeline on county owned property adjacent to the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport and Byron Airport.

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis was not in attendance because she was at a business meeting representing the supervisors.

The supervisors’ action on the consent agenda item means that Airports Director Keith Freitas can proceed to execute a long-term lease with Montecito Commercial Group, LLC for the lease of about 3.21 acres of unimproved county-owned property at the south end of Sally Ride Drive.

As part of the supervisors’ action, the developer will receive a mitigated negative declaration attached to the project’s environmental impact report.  During the EIR procedure, the Contra Costa Water District submitted a letter about the developer’s water usage and an easement issue.  Both issues were resolved according to the CCWD.

The county can expect to cash in on the proposed single-story office-warehouse-distribution building.  During the two-year construction period, the county will be paid $1,000 per month, but once construction is completed monthly rent will increase to $4,247 and will be adjusted every year on April 1 based on the Consumer Price Index.

The Montecito lease calls the one-year period beginning April 1, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 any adjustment will not be greater than 75 percent of the CPI factor.  For the one period beginning on April 1, 2028, throughout the lease term, any adjustment to ground rent based on CPI may not be more than 4 percent of ground rent then in effect.

The Montecito development serves as an indication more projects near the county’s two airports are on their way for future supervisors’ review and action, Assistant Airports Director Beth Lee said.  Supervisors are expected to soon consider two large developments proposed for the Byron Airport.  One is a proposed building for aviation use and the other building is for non-aviation use, Lee said.

Lee noted the developer has yet to complete design and other procedural work before the Montecito project can get underway.

Before the Montecito -Buchanan Field development, the last development constructed on county airport property occurred in 2012 at the Byron Airport when the Patriot Jet Team building was constructed, said Lee.

When asked if real estate developers are finally recognizing how county airport projects can generate ideal real estate deals, Lee responded: “We sure hope so. This could mean a major new source of revenue for the county.”

Two State Grants Approved for Sheriff-Coroner

Supervisors approved two major state grants for the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.

A $300,000 grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways was awarded to the Sheriff-Coroner for the removal of abandoned vessels and the vessel turn-in program on county waterways.  The grant goes into effect beginning Oct. 1, 2018 and remains in effect when grant funding runs out.  Ninety percent of the funding comes from the state and 10 percent is an in-kind match.

Supervisors also approved a $97,100 grant for the Sheriff-Coroner from the Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement Tobacco Law Enforcement Grant Program.  The grant will be used from June 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020 to decrease juvenile access and use of tobacco products.

Both grants were approved as consent items.

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Supervisors snub public outcry for Sheriff Livingston investigation, resignation

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Approve $95M for new county administration building

By Daniel Borsuk

Community activists wanting Contra Costa County Supervisors to launch a probe into the way Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston operates the Martinez jail and the West County Detention Facility, the site of numerous allegations of inmate abuse, hit a brick wall on Tuesday as supervisors refused to conduct their own investigation into how the jails are operated by the sheriff.

Sheriff David O. Livingston. From CCCSheriff website.

Livingston, an elected countywide official, is up for re-election in June, but when the March 9 filing deadline rolled around no one had filed to oppose the sheriff in the upcoming June 5 primary election.

About 12 speakers asked supervisors to launch an investigation into Sheriff Livingston’s jail practices, even when two independent investigations, one that United States Senator Diane Feinstein has asked the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to undertake dating back to December and another that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is conducting, have yet to reveal their findings.

The Contra Costa Sheriff has come under fire from human rights organizations for the way he has treated male and female inmates at the North Richmond and Martinez jails.  At the West County facility female inmates under ICE custody have been allegedly mistreated whereby they cannot use restroom facilities forcing them to defecate in their clothes or in plastic bags.  The sheriff has also been criticized for having a contract with the U.S. Marshall’s Services and for vocally opposing interim District Attorney Diana Becton, the Board of Supervisors’ pick as DA.  Becton is up for election in the June primary election against senior district attorney Paul Graves, lawyer Lawrence Steven Strauss and Concord attorney Victor A. Segovia.

Even though the sheriff is an elected official, some speakers demanded Sheriff Livingston’s immediate resignation.

“Twenty-seven women have complained of being abused under his administration.  The sheriff should resign.  You should at least launch an investigation of the jail,” said Melvin Willis, a Richmond City Councilman and a representative of the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment.

“It’s time for Sheriff Livingston to resign,” insisted Kathleen Everson of Walnut Creek.  She said supervisors should conduct an independent investigation into the sheriff’s office.  “It’s time to end the sheriff’s contract with ICE.”

“What’s up with you guys?” asked Linda Olivera of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement.  “You need to show the initiative.  This is your facility.  This is a horrible sheriff.”

“I don’t think you guys are going to do a damn thing,” said Mercy Garetz of Hercules.  “We’re going to where the money leads.”

“I’m waiting for the independent report from the state attorney general to come out either at the end of this month or next month before making any decisions,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond.

Board chair Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill acknowledged that state attorney general Becerra is conducting his investigation into the West County jail, but she also disagreed with statements made by Concord clinical psychologist Harmesh Kumar, who said the Sheriff’s Office has slashed mental health services because of county funding cutbacks.  Mitchoff said the board will take up at its March 27 meeting a $3 million proposal to fund mental health services for the jails as a consent item.

Kumar is a candidate running for the District 4 seat that Mitchoff currently occupies.  Also running for the District 4 supervisorial seat is Justin Wedel, 39, of Walnut Creek.

New County Administration Building Approved 2018 0320CCC BOS New Admin Bldg

After decades of despair, supervisors flashed the green light for Hensel Phelps Construction Co. to begin construction immediately on the new state-of-the-art county administrative building, Emergency Operations Center and Public Safety Building in Martinez.

The county buildings will cost $95.8 million to construct and will replace an antiquated administration building that has been in use since 1960.

The new, three-story administration building is to be constructed on vacant Pine Street property near the existing administration building at 651 Pine St.  The new three-story, 72,000 square foot building will accommodate 150 county employees.  The Emergency Operations Center and Public Safety Building will accommodate about 50 employees, said Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt.

Hensel Phelps Construction Co. beat Swinerton Builders in the design-build selection process that the county conducted.  Supervisors approved $110 million in construction bonds in May 23, 2017 to fund the construction of the project that is slated to be completed in April 2020.

When the new buildings are constructed, the 651 Pine St. building will be demolished and a parking garage is proposed for the site.

Supervisors Approve Funding For St. Paul’s Commons Development

A proposed 46-unit residential development, including a manager’s unit, designed for “extremely low, very low and low-income households with AIDs” got the green light for federal funding from the board of supervisors.  Supervisors unanimously approved the item as a consent item.

The St. Paul’s Commons Development will be constructed on church property at 1860 Trinity Ave. in Walnut Creek under a 77-year lease.

The developer wants to borrow via the county $2.6 million of HOME funds and $232,681 of Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  St. Paul’s is also receiving $5.6 million and $11.7 million in Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the City of Walnut Creek.

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Reward offered in October murder case of Danville woman near Byron

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Emily Courchesne

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

A $10,000 reward is being offered by the family of murder victim Emily Courchesne for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) in her killing.

On Friday, October 6, 2017, at about 10:05 AM, Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a “Medical – PD” call at a residence on the 24000 block of Marsh Creek Road in unincorporated Contra Costa County near Byron.

Deputies found Courchesne, a Danville resident, deceased inside the home. Detectives later determined it was a homicide. Detectives believe Courchesne was killed that week sometime between Wednesday evening and Thursday early morning. She had been housesitting at the residence which is on a farm in Byron.

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Second murder charge filed against driver in stolen vehicle crash in Antioch last Wednesday

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Screenshot from ABC7 News of Camila and Lenexy Cardoza, the victims of a fatal stolen vehicle crash in Antioch, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

Second Cardoza daughter dies; Bail for suspect increased to $2,130,000

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has filed an additional murder charge against 23-year-old Noe Saucedo of Pittsburg.

On Friday the DA’s Office filed formal charges against Saucedo. He was charged with murder, felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of heroin.

Saucedo remains in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility. He is being held in lieu of $2,130,000 bail.

We are saddened to report that 2-year-old Camila Cardoza was officially pronounced deceased at the hospital. Camila was a passenger, along with her sister Lenexy, in a vehicle that was struck by a stolen pick-up truck driven by Noe Saucedo on Wednesday on Somersville Road in Antioch. Lenexy was killed in the collision.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing by the Contra Costa County D.A.’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Antioch Police Department and the Office of the Sheriff per the officer-involved protocol. Investigators are trying to determine why suspect Saucedo stole the Ford F-250 pick-up truck in Pittsburg, why he accelerated away from a Deputy Sheriff who was following him, and why he ran through a red light at the intersection of Somersville Road and the eastbound Highway 4 off-ramp before colliding into another vehicle. In addition, tests are being conducted to determine if Saucedo was impaired in any way.

Anyone with any information on this incident or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, please email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

For further news about this case on ABC7 News, click here.

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Murder, other charges filed against driver of stolen vehicle in Wednesday crash in Antioch

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Bail set at $1,130,000 for Pittsburg resident Noe Saucedo

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Noe Saucedo arrest photo. By Contra Costa County Sheriff

Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office this afternoon filed formal charges against Noe Saucedo, the suspect who drove a stolen pick-up truck on Wednesday that crashed into another vehicle on Somersville Road in Antioch. He is being charged with murder, felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of hero-in. 23-year-old Saucedo of Pittsburg remains in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility. He is being held in lieu of $1,130,000 bail.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing by the Contra Costa County D.A.’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Antioch Police Department and the Office of the Sheriff per the officer-involved protocol. Investigators are trying to determine why suspect Saucedo stole the Ford F-250 pick-up truck in Pittsburg, why he accelerated away from a Deputy Sheriff who was following him, and why he ran through a red light at the intersection of Somersville Road and the eastbound Highway 4 off-ramp before colliding into another vehicle. In addition, tests are being conducted to determine if Saucedo was impaired in any way.

Yesterday, the four-year-old girl who was killed in the vehicle collision was identified as Lenexy Cordoza. Her two-year-old sister and mother remain at the hospital.

“Clearly, suspect Saucedo took a series of actions that led to this tragedy,” said Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston. “We are saddened by the loss of life and offer our deepest sympathies to the family.”

Anyone with any information on this incident or who may have witnessed it is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, please email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

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

Friday, January 5th, 2018

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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