Crime

Husband of woman fatally shot by sheriff’s deputy desperate for answers

Neighbor explains what she heard at Ripon officer-involved shooting

Lucille Montez, who lives on South Manley Avenue at the corner where Evin Yadegar entered Tornell Drive, described what she heard as the officer-involved shooting was taking place. (Deke Farrow/jfarrow@modbee.com)
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Lucille Montez, who lives on South Manley Avenue at the corner where Evin Yadegar entered Tornell Drive, described what she heard as the officer-involved shooting was taking place. (Deke Farrow/jfarrow@modbee.com)

Hanibal Yadegar said he cannot understand why a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy had to fatally shoot his wife early Sunday after a vehicle pursuit that ended in Ripon.

Yadegar and his wife, Evin, own the Barkin’ Dog Grill, a downtown Modesto institution. He said his wife would not hurt anyone and had never been in trouble but had a bipolar disorder and was undergoing a manic episode. He said it started in January when she stopped taking her medication.

Yadegar said Ripon police officials spoke with him Tuesday but could not tell him why a deputy had to shoot his wife.

“My question for him (one of the officials) was what danger was she that justified the shooting? His answer was that ‘We are investigating that.’ My other question was that why with all of those officers present, at least four were present, why did only one of them discharge his weapon? If she was such a danger, my assumption is then everyone would be shooting.”

Sheriff Adam Christianson said at a Tuesday news conference he plans to meet with Yadegar to answer his questions and help him through “this very difficult process.”

Yadegar described Evin Yadegar as loving and kind and having a beautiful soul. He said her encounter with law enforcement should have ended with her being alive.

“We could go up and down, and left and right, (but) the bottom line is this woman was ill,” he said. “She was not well. Unfortunately, being downtown, I see this all the time with the mentally ill who are homeless. We don’t understand it so we kick them to the curb, and this is what happened to my wife. And she paid with her life, and it did not need to happen.”

Yadegar called police to his family’s home last Wednesday, reporting a domestic disturbance involving his wife, Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves said. “He was trying to give her medication and she did not want it,” Graves said. “She became agitated and kicked him and his brother out of the house and locked them out.”

When officers were speaking with Evin Yadegar, she changed her story a couple of times, Graves said. She at one point claimed some form of physical abuse had occurred, then said it had not. Officers found no evidence of abuse, Graves said, and the report from the officers’ response did not indicate any physical altercation. The report does not indicate whether the couple’s 9-year-old son was present, Graves said. There is no history of calls to the home, she added.

Yadegar said he was not at the couple’s Bonita Circle home early Sunday when his wife left.

He said his wife had a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of California, San Diego, in costume and set design and had worked at some of the top theaters and with some of the top directors across the nation. He said that stopped when their son was born.

But Yadegar said his wife expressed her creativity in their restaurant, which opened in 2004. He said she designed the space, including the kitchen, and created the menu. He said she was a fantastic cook despite not having any formal training. He said the Barkin’ Dog has been a success because of her. Yadegar said he just carried out his wife’s vision for the restaurant.

On Tuesday, a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page noted that it will be closed March 11 for a memorial service for Evin Yadegar. “Also in honor of Evin, all other schedules (dining and entertainment) will continue as planned,” the post said, going on to quote author Sarah Dessen: “because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. no matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.”

Bee staff writer Deke Farrow contributed to this report.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316

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