BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Sheriff Donny Youngblood released new details about an an officer-involved shooting last May in Wasco that left one man dead. This comes after the department released body camera of this shooting on Monday, along with footage of five other shootings that happened last year. Deputies were called to Wasco’s 16th Street for a report of a stabbing. Video shows three deputies entering an apartment building, finding 21-year-old Daniel Gomez attacking two woman in a bathroom. KCSO says were three children in the home at the time. During the nearly 10-minute body cam video, deputies are heard virtually begging Gomez to not make them shoot. Deputies can be heard saying, “put the knife down, do it for your kids.”
17 News asked Sheriff Donny Youngblood deputies fired when, in the video, it didn’t appear that Gomez lunged at anyone.
“They knew they had a victim who had been stabbed, she was vocal and bleeding. They had an obligation to get to her,” said Sheriff Youngblood. “They allowed an enormous amount of time for this person to comply. Look how far this suspect moved. The officers’ backs were now to a wall, and they had no escape. He certainly was in range of stabbing a deputy. Had they waited for one more step, what would have happened? We don’t know the answer to that, thank god.”
“Would it have been possible for officers to use a taser rather than firing their handguns?” asked 17’s Moses Small.
“They were equipped with tasers, I can’t answer why they chose not to use a taser,” said Youngblood. “I can tell you this, we have a tendency not to take a knife to a gunfight…not to take a taser to a knife fight. Tasers don’t always work.”
“Would it have been possible for them to fire and hit him in the leg, perhaps?” asked Small.
“No it is not possible. When you discharge your firearm, if you don’t hit the brain, the spine, or the heart, the suspect doesn’t stop,” said Youngblood. “We talked about children being there. When you start talking about aiming for limbs and those miss, where do those rounds go? Maybe into a child. We do not train to shoot limbs, we train to stop the threat.”
Both women in the video were hospitalized following the attack. For the full body camera video, click here.