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Suspect Shot, Killed By Danville Police Officer After Attempting To Run Him Down Saturday

Photo: Chris Koenig

Police provided fresh details of an officer involved shooting that took the life of a 33-year-old Newark man Saturday, identifying both the victim and the officer who opened fire out of “immediate fear” he was going to be struck by the suspect’s car as it veered toward him.

A police spokesman identified the dead man as as 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda of Newark. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

The officer who discharged his weapon was identified as Deputy Sheriff Andrew Hall. He has been with the Office of the Sheriff for 5 years, currently assigned to the contract city of Danville.

Investigators said the chase leading up to the shooting, the first the town has seen since 2001, began at 11:03 a.m. when officers responded to a call from a citizen of a suspicious person near Cottage Lane and Laurel Drive in Danville.

The citizen reported seeing a person exit his vehicle, walk toward several homes with bags in his hands, go back to his car and circle the neighborhood.

Officers arrived on scene, a sheriff’s spokesman said, Arboleda ignoring commands to stop and leading officers on a pursuit. Twice during the pursuit, according to police, Arboleda pulled over as if he was going to give up. As officers exited their cars, the suspect fled in his vehicle, continuing to lead the officers in a pursuit.

It was at the intersection of Front Street and Diablo Road, police said, that Arboleda steered his car toward an officer and accelerated. Investigators said Hall fired at the car as it sped toward him. The number of shots fired was not disclosed though pictures of the vehicle taken afterward showed what appeared to be several bullet strikes to the front windshield.

Arboleda, police said, was hit and transported to the San Ramon Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced deceased.

Witnesses reported seeing police behind a grey Honda Civic on Front Street with an officer attempting to stop the car, apparently firing at the vehicle when it veered in his direction.

“I heard sirens and looked over to see police after a car – then police shouting and what sounded like shots,” said Steve Quintanilla, in Danville to do some shopping, he said. “I didn’t see the actual gunfire, no smoke, just a cracking sound but then we saw police around the car and someone inside.”

There was a sizable police presence in the area through most of the afternoon as a departmental Officer-Involved Shooting protocol was invoked and investigators swarmed into the area.

Town spokesman Geoff Gillette said that to the best of his recollection the last officer involved shooting incident to take place in Danville was on Aug. 27, 2001.

Reports that the driver jettisoned something from the car prior to the shooting could not be immediately confirmed, though officers appear to have located a substance – described as some sort of “white powder” on Laurel Drive not far from the scene.


  1. Don’t think they will have too much problem finding witnesses down there. That is a very busy area at that hour.

  2. Walked straight into this after it was mostly over and wondered why I didn’t hear anything from you guys on it — and then I realized my phone was off. SMDH

  3. A police spokesman conceded that the officer shot a motorist in a fleeing car? Was he shot in the back? How can anyone justify unloading his sidearm into someone moving away from him? (Deadly force can be justified if a driver is attempting to run down the officer or a bystander, but it sounds like the officer fired AFTER the vehicle no longer posed a threat.) If the spokesman’s account is remotely accurate, we must demand that the DA prosecute this bloodthirsty officer.

    • It has been stated pretty much since this site started covering this incident that the officer(s) were out of their cars attempting to surround and arrest the suspect when he sped toward one or several of them at one opened fire at him. Don’t know where you got your information — or misinformation — but it wasn’t here.

      • Hi Charles – The article states that “a police spokesman said the officer fired an undisclosed number of shots at the fleeing car, which eventually came to rest at Front and Diablo.” That gives rise to an inference that the officer fired AFTER the vehicle ceased to pose a threat.

        If the car was fleeing, by definition, it posed no threat to the officer.

        Perhaps the author meant to write the officer fired at the suspect as he tied to ram the officers (which would be justified), but it should sicken our community to think that an officer saw fit to fire on a fleeing suspect after the imminent threat had passed. Hopefully 24-680 can add some clarity around that aspect of the story.

        • Evening, George… thanks for a thoughtful, well-written post. It should be known that we did not witness this shooting, and that we have been talking with people who saw bits and pieces of it as it happened through the course of the day. We have no firsthand account of the split second where the officer(s) in question opened fire on the car and that is undoubtedly under investigation by the shooting team assigned to look into this incident. At this point we can state with certainty that the operator of the Honda was fleeing from police, that he either crashed or was momentarily impeded in some way and that officers approached his car on foot in order to apprehend him and at that moment he powered the car forward in the direction of at least one officer (according to police). We don’t know how many shots were fired, where on the suspect car they impacted, or the nature of the wound suffered by the suspect. We have NO information that the fatal shot(s) were fired as the car sped away. There is much left to be determined and we are carefully – we hope – pointing out that there are still some points in the sequence of very rapid events which need to be detailed. Grateful, as ever, you took some time to write us and hope you will again.

          • I found a quote from the Police Chief, which I hope will help put any questions about the sequence of events to rest,

            “The suspect fled when officers arrived, leading them on a short pursuit north to near the corner of Front Street and Diablo Road in the downtown area, Shields said. Police officers got out of their cars to approach the suspect when the suspect started driving toward one of the officers, Shields said. An officer fired at the driver in an attempt to get him to stop the car; at least one round struck the victim, whose car then crashed, Shields said.”

  4. I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times or some deliberate attempt to take basic information and twist it and twist it until it is something else entirely. Only our fearless leader can repeat a lie often enough to make it believable (to some). Just don’t do this in front of me please. I don’t like it when he does it and I don’t like it when it is done on a local news story. And Mister Editor thanks for the timely, consistent and informative update and post this afternoon. I felt like we had a handle on what was happening thanks to your work.

      • 24-680 – Perhaps you could clarify the following except of the story: The article states that “a police spokesman said the officer fired an undisclosed number of shots at the fleeing car, which eventually came to rest at Front and Diablo.”

        Taken at face value, that sounds like the officer fired AFTER the vehicle ceased to pose a threat. Did the reporter mean to write that the officer fired on the “charging” vehicle rather than the “fleeing” vehicle. That nuance is critically important to get right.

        • Hi… just responded to your previous post. Understand the point. We have NO information a shot was fired at the car as it sped away and information from police telling us the officer(s) fired as the car sped toward one of them. That’s where it stands at this point, with police working to further determine the exact sequence of events – and us looking for someone who may have witnessed the shooting as it occurred. We do not wish to infer belief or doubt in any version and remain open to additional information.

          • Thank you for clarifying that the facts remain opaque. Sounds like the police spokesman could have used more descriptive words to the effect of “officer(s) fired at the suspect, who had been fleeing, when the suspect drove his car towards the officer(s).” (Assuming that is indeed what happened.)

            Please understand that the the phrase “fired shots … at the fleeing vehicle” connotes an alarming fact pattern. We rightly do not tolerate the use of deadly force merely to stop a suspect from escaping.

            We do need to afford wide deference to officers who make good faith snap judgements to protect their own lives.

  5. With all is said and done. A life was taken and my heart goes out to that family as they have lost a family member, once again by the sounds of things due to a “white substance being thrown from the car”. Obviously this suspect was not in their right mind, possibly under the influence, not making good choices, mentally not well, scared, etc. This is why ALL of us including our Professionals need to be trained and educated on the addiction/mental health epidemic we have going on everywhere. This could have been your child or loved one driving that car. Drugs are not prejudice. This problem is everywhere. There have been several substance abuse user killings by officers here in our San Ramon Valley. I want to believe that the Officers did everything in their power that was “Fair to ALL concerned”. I would like to invite any officer (not coming in uniform please) or any family member who has a love one addicted to drugs any Monday night at the Danville Grange at 7:30pm to a Nar-anon meeting learn the tools and hear how you can manage your life of loving an addicted love one in a healthy way and hopefully saving another life. Do your part by helping to save our community and those surrounding us by taking that step to make a difference in YOU!

    • Thanks, Debora, and good morning. Good post. We have no information the suspect in this case was actually under the influence of drugs at the time this unfolded, and that is something that will take some time to determine. We’re standing by information that something, described as looking like a white powder, was thrown from the car as the pursuit began to unfold. And we have nothing to contradict police statements that officers made every effort to resolve this incident peacefully – with shots fired only after the suspect steered his car in the direction of an officer(s).

    • Debora, You don’t think that when the person started driving towards the officers that were on foot that they shouldn’t have tried to stop him? Would you rather he had run over and killed the police and then been allowed to get away? The man knew he was committing suicide when he made his “poor choice”. The fact that he was on drugs and making “poor choices” does not justify allowing him to take out anything that gets in the way of him escaping the consequences of his “poor choices”. I have been to countless alanon meeting where I learned healthy boundaries. If my loved one were about to run over me in their vehicle damn straight I would try to save my life in this scenario. Keep going to Nar-anon because you have a long way to go. When you are able to recognize that the officer also has a family and loved ones who are glad that his life was not taken by another’s “poor choices” you will have some true recovery.

      • @Pamela/Debora – Since we’re talking counseling and all we’ll seize this opportunity to counsel commenters to – hopefully – refrain from making confrontational statements to others. You’re fine at this point but we know people can get their hackles up and we don’t want a flame war erupting. Looking for points of view, good information, insight… carry on!

        • I’m sorry if I was a little snarky. It’s just that the program recommended is about learning not to enable the addicted. I feel the officer did what I would have done with full understanding of the concepts taught in the above mentioned program. “Detaching with love” is necessary to seeing straight when you love an addict. You cannot protect them from their poor choices unfortunately but we can protect ourselves which is what the officer did in this case. I felt defensive because I think she would have preferred that the person not have been chased over a white substance and I disagree there because this leaves the rest of us vulnerable instead.

          • We’re good. Being of a certain temperament ourselves we know what happens when the right button is pushed and the fangs come out and whammo… we’re off to the races! The thing of it is NO ONE ELSE CARES about our umbrage so we’ve resolved to keep things informative rather than combative. Both of you guys raised interesting points and that’s what we’re into sharing here.

  6. Pamela
    Yes many can interpret anything to benefit themselves. I have attended Nar-anon for over 11 years. I do not believe that I am cured or know all the right answers that is why I continue to attend Nar-anon and will for the rest of my life as I believe as a love one of an addict that we are as sick as an addict and need tools to manage our lives in a healthy way. I did not condemn anyone in my statement as I believe and trust our professionals to do what is “Fair to all concerned”. But that does not mean that we ALL do not continue to be educated and to make better choices ourselves. I was not there at the scene nor have first hand information about what might of lead to this occurance but I can hope and pray that those that were will be able to live peacefully and sleep at night by the decisions they made. I listen to my heart which leads the way for me and my heart never let’s me down.

  7. @GeorgeRafal – Hoping you see this as we reached the end of that conversational thread. It could be argued that the driver was evading/fleeing police over the duration of this incident, even when he is said to have turned in the direction of one or more officers though at that moment, as you say, fleeing became an “attack” on the officer with the weapon being the car. It is an unfortunate yet dramatic illustration of how these things can turn into incidents with life or death repercussions in a split second. Thanks again.

  8. I would say bullet strikes to the windshielf are a pretty good indication the car was coming at or was at least in front of the officer when he opened fire.

  9. Pamela- I come from a ‘law enforcement family’. I know hundreds of officers and their families. Most all of us have close family members who struggle with addictions. I know some who have relatives in and out of jail/prison. I know an officer who took his life after becoming addicted to pain medication after an injury. Peace officers are human and deal with the same issues society faces. And for the man who made the comment about a ‘bloodthirsty’ cop- shame on you and your ignorance. The last thing any officer wants to do is to be forcred to take the life of another to protect themselves or another. You have no idea.

    • Amelia- I am just saying that he did what he had to do in that circumstance. If the person being chased had hit the officer and continued on, he would have either been shot anyway by other officers present, or have gone on to possibly hit innocent bystanders. I believe the officer’s actions were commendable and hope he fully understands that what he did was the right thing. I don’t think many would feel safe in Danville if these situations were handled differently. I’m pretty sure that most officers, in their efforts to keep the peace, have substantial insight into addiction, but I wouldn’t expect this knowledge to change their priorities when it comes to protecting the communities that they serve.

    • Amelia – Why “shame on” me? What did you think when you read “a police spokesman said the officer fired … at the FLEEING car”? (emphasis added) On its face, this statement sounds like the officer filed at the vehicle as it fled the scene and no longer posed a thread.

      We agree that MOST officers are GOOD PEOPLE who must make snap life-and-death decisions. Good faith mistakes happen under such circumstances, and the vast majority of officer involved shootings entail justifiable uses of deadly force.

      We would be all ignorant, however, to believe that there are not a few sociopaths in law enforcement. Consider, e.g., Michael Slager, formerly of the N. Charleston, SC PD and former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver, both convicted of murder in recent years for unjustifiable use of deadly force.

      Fortunately, this does not seem to be the case here. I reiterate that these are outlier events, they underscore the need for the public to demand careful scrutiny of officer involved shootings.

      In the instant case, facts have subsequently emerged, especially images of the bullet hole in the front windshield, which indicate that the officer used justifiable force to defend his own life. This suggests that the police spokesman inadvertently minced words insomuch as the officer did not fire at a “fleeing” vehicle.

      Please be more judicious about casting aspersions with words like “shame” and “ignorance” without grasping the full gravamen of the discussion.

      • Using terms like “bloodthirsty” IS inflammatory and unnecessary. It IS hateful and ignorant language like this that fans the flames of cop haters who then wish to cause harm to our law enforcement officers. Just like what happened in Dallas, Baton Rouge and NYC. These cop killing monsters feed off hateful rhetoric like ‘bloodthirsty’ they see on social media. Even when true facts come out (like in Ferguson – ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ which was a false narrative that was completely fabricated and then promoted on CNN!) these cop haters still believe it. So be careful with your words as many mentally ill and hateful people believe them even when facts are presented.

    • I’ll confess I thought the same thing for a moment. I sure hope not. This whole thing is just unbelievable.

    • I thought the same thing. I have absolutely NO info on it but I guess neighbors said he was in the area, appeared lost or looking for something. I was just thinking I hope it’s not a doordash person or other type delivery person who got confused and then panicked when he saw police. Or had a warrant or something. I guess we’ll find out.

  10. Good discussion. Nice to see. I think there is often a rush to judgement in a cases like this with supporters of the police willing to forgive them for any excess because they are “heros with tough jobs.” Most police are honorable people and I think we can agree the job is tough but we have also seen excesses and incidents commited by police in recent years. I say we have to trust but verify what officers say because their work can sometimes involve life or death situations. Like here. On the other hand I believe there is also a current philosophy out there trying to condemn police as assassins looking for innocent people to shoot. This isn’t true either. Another factor to consider is the part news sites like this one play in this incidents, with people saying things in real time that tend to stick even as the story develops later on. I get the news alert and updates this site was putting out on this tragedy and it was pretty clear to me they were trying to paint with a big brush — leaving room open for additional info they didn’t have at the time such as how many shots were fired, when they were fired, who fired and what the driver of the car was doing at the time. Pretty good job on a breaking news story and I followed along until the big boys and girls caught up hours later but statements made in the heat of the moment can hang around. I was also glad to see the pd (sheriff??) release information within 24 hours of the shooting. That’s a good thing.

  11. George, just stop. The DAs office will release the final findings of this case. You’re over here making assumptions. A car can flee or attempt to flee and run into the officers. Officers can be coming from all directions to stop the fleeing car or suspect. Please try to open up your mind.

  12. Has anyone talked to the woman in that jeep yet? She was pretty shaken up and she was right in the middle of it.

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