October 18, 2016

SCPD Press Release Update #1 Officer Involved Shooting

In the interest of transparency, SCPD issued a media release yesterday afternoon that contained known details of the circumstances surrounding the tragic officer involved shooting. Additionally, we included photos of the actual rake used in the attack on the officers. The text of the press release is below and also available on SCPD Facebook and Website http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/departments/police/press-releases

SCPD Media Release Update #1 Officer Involved Shooting
The Santa Cruz Police Department is updating details on the circumstances involved with the shooting in the early morning hours of October 16, 2016. As a reminder, the investigation is a continuing work in progress. The police department will release details as they become available.

The deceased suspect has been identified as 32 year old Santa Cruz resident Sean Arlt. Mr. Arlt’s family has been notified and the police department has provided support to the family through our full time Victim Advocate.

Early Sunday morning (3:30 AM) on October 16, 2016, Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 received an emergency call from a male resident at the Chace Street home. The caller reported that “someone is trying to break into my house”. The caller further indicated that he knew the suspect and stated he was pounding on the front door of the home. The caller emphasized to the dispatcher, “I want someone here in a hurry” and further told the dispatcher, “everyone’s scared”. The dispatcher took the information and the call ended.

As police officers were responding, the caller contacted our dispatch center a second time. The caller stated, “Where are you? There’s someone at my door screaming about killing us”. The caller also expressed concern for a female tenant living in the detached garage of the home. The caller reiterated Mr. Arlt’s threats to kill the occupants. The caller then hung up on the dispatcher. We later learned that the caller had armed himself with a large frying pan to defend himself and his family should Mr. Arlt get into the home.

In all, 4 SCPD officers were dispatched to the call. As SCPD officers arrived, they saw Mr. Arlt near the back door of the home which is accessed from Getchell Street. Mr. Arlt was in a small yard area between the back door and a fence.

The Officers called out to Mr. Arlt and ordered him out of the backyard. Mr. Arlt did not respond to their attempts to communicate with him. Meanwhile, Mr. Arlt armed himself with a wood handled metal bow rake, and emerged from the backyard holding the rake. The officers immediately ordered Mr. Arlt to drop the rake.
Mr. Arlt ignored the officers' repeated commands and walked rapidly toward them holding the rake in a threatening manner over his head as if he was preparing to swing it. Officers repeatedly ordered Mr. Arlt to drop the rake. One of the officers had an audio recorder capturing the confrontation. In the recording, Officers can be heard ordering Mr. Arlt to drop the rake no less than 8 times. Mr. Arlt continued toward the officers. Officers can also be heard ordering Mr. Arlt to “stop” a number of times as he continued toward them while still holding the rake over his head.
The officers retreated back from Mr. Arlt as he continued toward them. At this point, 2 separate officers deployed Tasers at Mr. Arlt in an effort to stop his attack. The Taser deployments were not effective and they did not stop Mr. Arlt's advance. One of the officers deployed a second Taser round which was also ineffective. A total of 3 Taser attempts were made to stop Mr. Arlt’s attack.

Simultaneously, officers continued to retreat until they were backed against parked cars. Mr. Arlt continued toward the officers with the rake held up in the previously described threatening manner. Mr. Arlt got within approximately 10 feet of the officers when lethal force was deployed.

A single officer fired two shots to stop the attack of Mr. Arlt. No other shots were fired. The officers immediately provided Mr. Arlt with medical aid. Mr. Arlt continued to fight with the officers as they attempted to render aid to him. The officers provided medical aid to Mr. Arlt until emergency medical crews arrived.

Two of the responding officers are part of the department's Crisis Negotiation Team specially trained in de-escalation and addressing persons in crisis. In spite of the officers' attempts to communicate with Mr. Arlt, his behavior was erratic and he was not responsive.

Based on the audio recording, once Mr. Arlt emerged from the backyard, this situation unfolded in approximately 20 seconds. Because of the rapid succession of events, the officers did not have the opportunity to dialogue and negotiate with Mr. Arlt.

In addition to the officer’s statements and audio recording, there was a civilian student ride along accompanying one of the officers. In his interview, the student ride along gave an account that is consistent with the statement of the involved officers.

The rake used by Mr. Arlt was approximately 5 feet in length with a metal head containing 14 metal tines. A photo of the actual rake is attached to this media release.