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DA Says Major Crimes Unit Acted Appropriately in Officer Involved Shooting

The Nevada County District attorney has issued his findings into the investigation of a domestic violence incident that resulted in the death of a suspect John Arthur Salazar on September 24th of this year. D.A. Cliff Newell says it is apparent that the officers in their various capacities and the Special Units involved made every possible and reasonable attempt to resolve the situation peacefully.

“Reading all the reports firsthand and kind of immersing myself into that scene, it was pretty amazing the amount of constraint and professionalism that the law enforcement, that the deputies showed at all levels from their commanders all the way down to the line deputies that were actually engaged with the suspect.”

On September 24, 2011, around noontime Deputies responded to an address on Wolf Road in response to a “911” call of domestic violence.   They found suspect 53 year old John Arthur Salazar, had barricaded himself in a bedroom with his girlfriend as a hostage.  The first deputies on scene entered the home and observed that Salazar had a knife to his girlfriend’s throat and threatened to kill her and himself if they did not retreat.  The deputies left the room and summoned Nevada County Sheriff’s Crises Negotiation Team   Throughout the situation Salazar resisted all contacts by the negotiation team and became more violent and erratic.  Salazar continually yelled that he was going to kill the victim. During the entire incident the victim could be heard screaming in pain and pleading for help.    The Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail (SED) was summoned to assist if negotiations failed. 

At approximately 3:30 p.m. the suspect began to barricade the last point of entry into the room he and the hostage occupied and ceased communication.  All indications were that he was preparing to carry out his threats.  Incident commanders decided it was time for the Special Enforcement Detail   to make entry into the barricaded room to try and save the victim from imminent harm or death.  Shortly thereafter officers breached the barricaded doors and approached the suspect who had positioned himself in a chair with the victim on top of, and in front of him as a shield, with one arm holding her and the other with a knife at her throat.  One of the Special Enforcement team members fired one shot that killed the suspect instantly. The swat officer who was on administrative leave after the shooting is now back on duty.

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