Home NEWS Local Scene Moraga Man Kills Himself After Alleged Assault, Neighborhood Standoff Saturday

Moraga Man Kills Himself After Alleged Assault, Neighborhood Standoff Saturday

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Police responded to a home in the 300 block of Birchwood Drive Saturday after a confrontation between neighbors allegedly turned violent.

One person was believed injured, possibly with wounds inflicted by a baseball bat, and a multi-agency police response flooded the normally sedate neighborhood in Moraga’s Rheem Valley Manor.

The incident was reported in a flurry of calls from neighbors at about 11:49 a.m. Neighbors said a homeowner, reportedly a man in his 50s, allegedly attacked a neighbor, beating her about the head and torso with a baseball bat.

Neighbors said they heard a young woman screaming and pleading for help, with the vanguard of what turned out to be a heavy police response from as far away as Walnut Creek arriving on the scene shortly after. The younger woman was believed to be the daughter of the injured woman.

Neighbors contacting this site reported a sizable police presence arriving and filtering into the neighborhood, establishing positions overlooking the assailant’s home. Police put at least one drone up and attempted to establish communication with the male suspect in an attempt to negotiate his surrender. About an hour into the standoff, with the suspect walking in and out of the residence, police fired “less lethal” munitions at the man – with no apparent effect.

The motivation for the alleged assault remains unconfirmed, though a few residents called it “petty.”

At approximately 1:30 p.m. neighbors reported hearing a “gunshot” fired from the residence, though that could not immediately be confirmed. Minutes later, additional shots were heard as the suspect apparently armed himself with an AR-15-style rifle and was seen aiming the weapon at a police drone. Not long after that, the suspect was observed popping in and out of the home and, at least once, aiming his weapon at police who had established a cordon around the residence.

At approximately 2:33 p.m. the armed man reportedly stepped out into his backyard, sat down and fired a shot into his head. It is not believed at this point that police fired at the suspect at any time.

Panicked neighbors reported the shots and police maintaining their cordon around the home, eventually moving in to confirm the death.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe eventually we will wake up and realize semi automatic and automatic weapons have no place in peaceful neighborhoods. The right to bear arms? How about the right to live peacefully and free from crazy armed people. Speedy recovery to the family.

  2. Hey Tim, maybe eventually we will wake up with all our freedoms taken. What then? This might be the first crazy armed person in moraga in at least 2 decades. You do have the right to live peacefully and free from crazy people, and you also have the right to protect yourself from those crazy people. Guns aren’t going anywhere and neither are crazy people. Maybe man up, take a gun safety course and educate yourself on their utility. Just because you don’t like guns doesn’t mean everyone should be disallowed from having them. Why do you think the first call that was made was to the cops – BECAUSE THEY HAVE GUNS. Semi auto and automatic guns.

    • Sadly, no, as some of your colleagues/brethren could attest and a quick search of this site would bear out. And, oddly, strangely, the gun came into play well after the initial report was received…

      • Sadly, News24-680, I think you have misunderstood Jeff’s statement. He is saying that people call the police to take care of problems b/c they (the police) are armed and able to handle whatever trouble is happening.

        • @Tom – No, we got it. Our point is that this is not the first time we’ve handled an incident of this type in Moraga. And we know people call the PD to do all kinds of things they don’t want to do themselves. Frankly, we’d like to see that change a bit in future. It will probably do so on its own due to a lack of available police resources. We shall see.

          • Oh, I see what portion of Jeff’s write up that you were responding to. Of course, Jeff’s statement about the police being the armed and capable ‘trouble handlers’ is true too.

    • You diagnose “crazy”, Dr. Bruisome. What do you know of this troubled man? We often come into contact with people with whom we disagree, people who are sometimes angry and even violent. That doesn’t call for an escalation of violence. You are a one-trick phony.

  3. Did anyone try to help the woman? I know i would. Can’t just sit by and let someone get beaten no matter the cost to me

  4. Compared to years/decades ago, it sure does seem that there’s a lot more mentally ill people out there who become violent at the slightest provocation and most of them have guns…it would take someone smarter than me to understand why…

  5. We’re going through an extraordinary period and it is clear that many people are not equipped — mentally — to handle the stress and challenges of everyday life. I’m sure people are suffering as a result of this emergency situation. We wish them the strength and courage they’ll need to get through.

  6. Great job Moraga and neighboring police handling a situation with a suspect armed with an AR-15 without engaging in a gun battle. It’s a testament to the quality of our police leadership and department.

    • If he actually pointed the AR15 at the officers, they should have opened fire on him, likely worried about Becton. 108RS

  7. For the heavy weapon advocates in the thread, do you realize this kind of point/counterpoint was first popularized 50 years ago on Sixty Minutes by a segregationist, er, “conservative” debating a liberal, er, “female with opinions”, in a predictable verbal, faux joust, later satirized by a “Jane, you ignorant slut” point/counterpoint on SNL…We have come so far…so far. What next? Cat vs mouse? Dancing bear vs dog on roller skates? Do we really need more violence and quicker, less-restrained violence? America stands alone in this gun violence. Alone. NO PEER COUNTRIES. Illumination is not on the horizon.

    • We are keen to keep the thread on track as “gun fanciers” do like to talk “hardware.” Unfortunately, a weapon did materialize in this particular incident so it becomes a fair topic for discussion – even though its appearance caught several of us off guard.

    • If the details/allegations are accurate, it clearly is not OK for someone to take a baseball bat to a neighbor (or anyone) they disagree with. That’s pretty basic (or at least it used to be). Stop the sarcasm, stop the blame.

  8. A Note From the Editor/Moderator/Chief Barista:

    Folks, a commenter posting to this thread said we’d “edited” an earlier comment of theirs. Be advised, we don’t EDIT comments.

    We do, however, DELETE comments for any of the same old reasons that will get you tossed from other InterWeb sites: off-topic posting, trolling, threatening language and language designed to lure others into a flame exchange. That’s boring, our readers don’t like it, and we’d prefer it if you wouldn’t do it. That is all, carry on…

  9. We have a Claycord commenter living outside Moraga who consistently claims on here that Moraga P.D. is unprepared or somehow deficient compared to the CoCo Sheriff or I guess other agencies. Leaving aside the fact that there was of course an interdisciplinary response to this particular incident, I’d like to know what those continued claims are based on. As a Moragan, it seems to me our P.D. does its job well.

    • This answer is going to be complex, I will attempt to be clear. Please ask follow up questions.

      I just went to the State of California POST website, my numbers are current.

      Moraga PD currently has 11 full time sworn personnel and one reserve. This total includes a chief and a lieutenant, which are primarily administrative positions. There is a lot of reporting, HR, budgeting time involved in running a PD and I know, a friend was the Chief in Clayton, which should also go to Sheriff contract.

      Small PD’s have a tough time recruiting, whether it be trainees or laterals, they often do not pay as much as larger departments. Laterals, either a very senior officer who is looking for a sleepy town to do nothing or someone who has been bounced from another department for a variety of reasons, none of which are usually good. Trainees, how much training can you get in Moraga, not much happens there.

      That’s just part of the story, I have to go, having lunch with a retired CoCo Sheriff sergeant.

      • Thanks, Jeff. If Moraga went the Orinda/Lafayette route, and contracted with CoCo Sheriff, would we have the same coverage? Apart from cost, I doubt we would have as high a level of on the ground presence within city limits as we currently do. And recruiting is not only an issue in Moraga, but in nearby larger cities such as Oakland and Vallejo. In fact, aren’t a lot of laterals in places like Moraga experienced LEOs from larger cities who specifically want a change of pace?

        CoCo Sheriff lateral salary range appears to be $93,098.88 – $118,820.40 annually. For Moraga, those figures are $87,504 – $111,672 annually. Is that enough to affect recruiting?

        CoCo Sheriff only offers contract policing for 4 cities — others have considered going this route and have decided against. But again your comments seem to indicate that MPD is not competent to handle more serious crimes — anyone can go back and read what you’ve written. I am not convinced that’s a fair judgment absent any evidence. In the age of Miles Hall and Aldemar Lauboleda, I’m betting decisions to employ a lethal response or not have less to do with LEO competence and more to do with other factors, which aren’t unique to Moraga.

        • Interested,

          Any pay differential may make a difference in the very expensive Bay Area, MPD is not as great as I would have thought, but it might make a difference. Each lateral is different, but should be very carefully inspected.

          As per contracting with the Sheriff, Moraga would get exactly the level of policing it contracts for and perhaps administration could be handled through Lafayette. I know several small cities in the North Bay use a joint “PD”. And, when there is a homicide or major incident, the Sheriff is usually called in and bills Moraga extra, this would be covered in the contract.

          And training, POST sets yearly minimum hours of additional training, where does Moraga PD go? I’m sure it’s not done internally, not enough qualified individuals, whereas the Sheriff has a training facility and staff. Hiring the Sheriff means you get deputies that have worked the jail for several years, constantly receiving training before going out to patrol, not a 21 year old fresh out of the academy.

          Anything else?

          108RS

          • Thanks for the responses, I appreciate it. I still haven’t seen anything that convinces me Moraga would be better off contracting with CoCo Sheriff, nor do I expect MPD to be unable to handle crime here. In fact, I expect if that proposal were seriously made, you would see the same level of reaction whenever anyone proposes dissolving the MOFD and going with CalFire.

          • I think Interested Observer is correct: “In fact, I expect if that proposal were seriously made, you would see the same level of reaction whenever anyone proposes dissolving the MOFD and going with CalFire.”

            Casting aspersions on the competence of the MPD is empty rhetoric, inflammatory rhetoric, intended to serve a completely separate agenda, the notion that WE ARE NOT SAFE. We all have opinions. You have one, and no one has anointed it as special.

  10. Is there a follow up to this story? Super tragic all around but no news coverage anywhere but here and still the story is left untold.

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