Crime

Driver in Ripon officer-involved shooting was shot at 4 times; crash into house came after

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)

A chase that led to a fatal officer-involved shooting early Sunday in Ripon started with a 911 call of an assault on a hotel security guard, authorities said Tuesday.

The details were made public in a news release issued by the Ripon Police Department on Tuesday after a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy shot Evin Olsen, 46, near the end of a pursuit from Salida. Olsen, also known as Evin Yadegar, co-owned the popular Barkin’ Dog eatery in downtown Modesto with husband Hanibal Yadegar.

At a news conference at the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday afternoon, Ripon police Chief Edward Ormonde said the deputy fired on Yadegar’s car on South Manley Road after she did not respond to commands to exit the vehicle and then put it in reverse and drove toward two deputies and a Ripon officer.

Four shots were fired, the chief said, but he would not comment on how many struck Yadegar and where. She put the car in drive, maneuvered around patrol vehicles and turned onto Tornell Circle.

The car briefly came to rest on Tornell, and officers and deputies again tried to make contact with Yadegar, Ormonde said. But she accelerated down Tornell Circle and crashed into the front of a home at a bend in the street.

Lifesaving measures were made, Ormonde and Sheriff Adam Christianson said, but Yadegar died at the scene. Ormonde said the shooting alone was the cause of death; the crash was not a factor.

Christianson identified the deputy as Justin Wall, 24, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department since 2013. While relatively new, Wall is well-trained and a K-9 officer, with no prior deadly force encounters, the sheriff said. “His personnel file is full of nothing but attaboys, if you’ll call them that, from peers, supervisors and citizens. He’s a good deputy sheriff.”

The incident began when Stanislaus deputies responded to the call at 2:56 a.m. at the Hampton Inn & Suites in the 4000 block of Sisk Road.

At the news conference, Christianson said a security guard reported that Yadegar had begun a verbal and physical altercation with him. Yadegar was not a guest at the inn, said Christianson, adding that why she was there isn’t known. When a deputy arrived, he saw Yadegar’s vehicle leaving the area and chased her.

“Attempts to perform a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle were unsuccessful, and a pursuit ensued,” the release said. “The pursuit continued along several surface roads in Salida, ultimately heading northbound on Highway 99 towards the San Joaquin-Stanislaus County border.”

The pursuit entered San Joaquin County, and at 3:17 a.m. the car left the freeway at East Main Street, then continued into Ripon. Ripon police officers tried to help deputies stop the car; those attempts also failed, authorities said. The car went south on South Manley Road, stopping near Tornell Circle, where authorities tried to get Yadegar from the car. The shots were fired at 3:20, Christianson said.

Law enforcement at the scene included six deputies, a Sheriff’s Department Explorer and three Ripon officers.

The sheriff said at the news conference that deputies do their best to avoid deadly force and conclude incidents with no one getting hurt.

No deputy looks to get involved in shootings, he said, because then the deputy is treated as a suspect, is read his or her rights, is assigned counsel. “Remember, it’s homicide until the district attorney determines it’s justifiable homicide,” he said. “And that, in my opinion, could take many weeks or even many months before we’ll know what the DA’s decision is or before we know what all the facts and circumstances are in this case.”

Ormonde referred to the investigation as “fluid.” In its third day, investigators “are still turning up information we’re just discovering,” he said.

Stanislaus sheriff’s deputies do not wear body cameras, but Ripon police do, and department spokesman Lt. Steve Merchant said all footage from patrol vehicle and body cameras will be reviewed as part of the investigation.

Lucille Montez, who lives on South Manley at the corner where Yadegar entered Tornell, said Tuesday that she and her daughter could hear commands directed at Yadegar as the pursuit came south on South Manley. She said she heard a peace officer repeatedly order the driver to stop and get out of the vehicle.

When Montez later ventured outside, there were shell casings on the pavement in front of her home, and deputies, police officers and vehicles were gathered there and on Tornell.

Montez pointed to tire marks on the corner sidewalk where South Manley meets Tornell, and Tornell resident Mark Hofman pointed to tire marks on the sidewalk in front of his residence a few doors down from where Yadegar crashed.

Neighbors interviewed Tuesday said the room the car entered was not a bedroom. They said the residents – who were not at the home Tuesday morning – moved into the neighborhood only a few months ago.

Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327

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