By Andrew Kuhn
Source Merced Sun-Star (Merced, Calif.)
The Merced County Sheriff's Office released body camera video of a shooting in Dos Palos that resulted in a deputy killing a man holding a child hostage.
Deputies were sent to a home in the 8800 block of Globe Avenue in Dos Palos for a domestic incident at 11:44 a.m. Jan. 13. Undersheriff Corey Gibson says in a narrative accompanying the video that a female resident told dispatchers that her boyfriend had assaulted her and was holding their son captive.
"The caller said the suspect, identified as Adolfo Cruz, was making statements about not wanting to go back to jail," Gibson says.
Authorities said the caller reported Cruz, 37, had started a fire inside the duplex and was attempting to burn it down. While deputies were en route to the location, the caller tells the dispatcher that Cruz is holding a large kitchen knife and holding the child hostage while using drugs.
The dispatcher asks the caller, "and he told you that he was going to kill himself?"
"Yeah, and he...he has a crack pipe and he is hitting it in front of my son," the caller replies.
According to Gibson, deputies arrived at 11:56 a.m. and attempted to deescalate the situation by speaking with Cruz who continued to make statements about wanting to kill himself and the child.
In the video, Cruz can be seen sticking his head out of a second-story window. At one point a deputy says, "Let the kid come out. Let the kid come out." Cruz responds, "No."
"You don't want him to be there, just let your kid come out."
"No, I do."
"What are you going to do then?"
"I'm going to kill me and my kid, honestly."
In the video, Cruz tells deputies to stay back.
"You better not come over here, dude. I'm being serious, bro. I'm not going to go to prison, I'm telling you I'm not going to go to prison."
At 12:05 p.m. a member of the crisis negotiation team talks to Cruz. According to Gibson, Cruz continued to tell law enforcement he was not going back to prison.
At 12:26 p.m., Cruz closes the window. When he reopens it, he can be seen holding a large kitchen knife.
"After more attempts to deescalate the situation and repeatedly telling Cruz to drop the knife, Detective Benavides fired a single shot from his department-issued rifle, striking Cruz," Gibson says in the video.
In the body camera video, deputies are seen walking up a flight of stairs and kicking open a door. It's smoky inside. The deputies rescue the child and do a medical assessment of Cruz, who was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities said deputies found the 13-inch kitchen knife that Cruz had been holding.
"Any incident that results in the loss of life is very tragic. Not only for the families, but the community, as well," Gibson says in the video. " The Merced County Sheriff's Office takes our oath to protect our community very seriously. We are grateful that the child was not physically harmed during this event."
The incident remains under investigation. According to Deputy Alexandra Britton, the Merced County District Attorney's Office is conducting a criminal investigation and the Merced County Sheriff's Office is conducting an administrative investigation to review the agency's response and use of force.
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