Friday, 17 May 2024

Officer-involved shooting in Clearlake under investigation

CLEARLAKE – Officials are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred Monday night when police allege a man pointed a shotgun at officers.


In addition to the one death, another man is reported to be injured after being struck in the arm by a fragment of a bullet or another object.


A Clearlake Police officer responding to a call involving a fight at York's Mobile Park on Old Highway 53 shot and killed the man, Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain said Tuesday.


The man who died was David Vestal, who was in his 60s, said park manager Lizbeth Alvarez. He had only lived at the park about a month, moving from Clearlake Oaks.


Three cars and four officers arrived at the scene at about 9:30 p.m., where several people were reported to be in the fight, said McClain. The area where the park is located has a high number of calls for police service, he said.


When the officers arrived on scene, McClain said Vestal was armed with a shotgun.


“That's what he pointed at the officers,” said McClain, resulting in the shooting.


He would not name the officer involved, who has been put on administrative leave according to department policy as the investigation takes place.


Alvarez, who said she heard three shots, disputed the police account.


“The police made a mistake,” said Alvarez.


Alvarez said the police shot Vestal without knowing what was going on. She didn't see the incident, but claimed Vestal had been holding a BB gun.


“It wasn't a BB gun,” said McClain.


Alvarez said she didn't know why police shot Vestal, who she described as a good person, when they arrived. “There was no shooting before that.”


Vestal's daughter and her husband had been arguing, which Alvarez said led to the police's arrival. His family, including his 4-year-old grandson, were standing nearby when it happened, she said.


A neighbor standing on his patio across the street from the incident was hospitalized after being hit in the arm by a fragment, possibly of the bullet or of something it had struck, said McClain.


“Doctors have just told us it was a fragment,” he said. “They won't know until they get it out.”


The man's injury is not life-threatening, McClain added. He's to undergo surgery to have the fragment removed.


Department of Justice criminologists arrived overnight to process the crime scene, said McClain.


Other subjects reported to have been involved in the fight were interviewed, he said. Some of them had warrants but he did not have immediate information on whether or not any had been arrested or cited.


The District Attorney's Office is now investigating the incident to determine if the shooting was justified under the law, said McClain. “At this point, while we're talking, they're still conducting interviews.”


Police investigators also will make a determination on whether or not any department policies were violated, he added. Six of his officers and investigators are working in conjunction with the District Attorney's Office.


Alvarez said the park had been closed down until about 1 p.m., with tenants not allowed to come or go. Vestal's body had remained on scene until about noon, when authorities finally removed it, she said.


Investigators have been on scene since the incident occurred Monday night, said McClain.


“They should be trying to wrap things up,” he said, at which point the tired officers will be sent home to get some sleep and continue work on the case Wednesday.


McClain said police records didn't show previous contacts with Vestal.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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