Chico ER article on Families remember seven people shot by law enforcement

https://www.chicoer.com/2022/07/26/memorial-remembers-seven-people-shot-by-law-enforcement-in-butte-county/

Chico Enterprise Record | Page A01Tuesday, 26 July 2022


Scott Rushing leads a memorial for his son and six others Saturday, July 23, 2022 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Chico, California. (Kimberly Morales/Enterprise-Record)

Families remember seven people shot by law enforcement

By Kimberly Morales

kmorales@chicoer.com

CHICO » Scott Rushing and Paula Rushing lost their son, Tyler Rushing after he was shot by a security guard and a Chico Police Department officer in 2017. They are still mourning.

On Saturday, the pair hosted a memorial on the fifth anniversary of the death of their son with the company of the families and friends of six other people who were also killed during officer involved shootings in Butte County.

Joined together in the halls of Trinity United Methodist Church, Tyler Rushing, Breanne Sharpe, Andrew Thomas, Gabriel Sanchez, Desmond Phillips, Stephen Vest and Myra Micalizio were remembered and celebrated.

The memorial started with a 38-second moment of silence for the seven people.

“We’re not here today to vilify the police,” said Scott Rushing. “We’re not here as a critique — we could all do that for many days with many reasons. The overarching theme is to humanize our loved ones.”

Chico Police Department Chief Matt Madden declined to comment. The Chico Police Officers’ Association was contacted for comment and did not respond in time for publication.

Tyler Rushing

On the night of July 23, 2017, the security firm of a downtown Chico business was notified after two motion sensors had been tripped. During inspection, security guard Edgar Sanchez was stabbed by Tyler Rushing, prompting the guard to shoot Rushing at

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close range. Chico police responded to the scene after being notified of the shooting. After it was determined that Rushing was in a bathroom, law enforcement was met with a standstill before officers went into the bathroom.

After a struggle that included Rushing striking an officer with a ceramic shard, a K-9 being ordered to bite Tyler Rushing and after Tyler Rushing stabbed Chico police Sgt. Scott Ruppel with a ballpoint pen, Ruppel fired, striking Rushing twice, according to the final report. After being shot, Rushing was on the ground when a stun gun was used on Rushing and he was handcuffed.

On Sept. 28, 2017, Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey cleared Ruppel and the security guard after having found that they had acted in reasonable self-defense. In February 2018, the Rushing family filed a wrongful death claim citing negligence and/or intentional conduct. In August 2019, the office of the attorney general found that the office of the district attorney did not abuse its discretion when it decided to not file criminal charges against the law enforcement. In July 2020, Judge Morrison England granted a motion for summary judgement for the two law enforcement officers, dismissing the case. The Rushing family appealed. In December, the court of appeals reinstated the civil lawsuit between the family of Tyler Rushing and the city of Chico citing that the use of the stun gun was potentially excessive.

“If by chance any police officers or their friends happen to be here, I think that’s awesome,” said Rushing. “You as a police officer should hear

about the effects of using bullets. You’re not just shooting that suspect. You’re shooting a family.”

Breanne Sharpe

Sharpe was killed in September 2013 after an early morning car chase when officers reportedly feared for their lives. Sharpe’s mother, Mindy Losee filed a lawsuit against Chico and several Chico police officers but it was dismissed in 2016 by a district court judge. In 2018, the court of appeals revived the case and in January 2019, the city settled with Losee for $950,000.

Andrew Thomas

Victoria Woodward, mother of Thomas, stood in front of the audience to remember her son that was shot in Paradise after a car chase and crash in 2015.

“He’s been gone a long time and I miss him,” said Woodward during the memorial.

Patrick Feaster, the former Paradise police officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in October 2016. In court, Feaster claimed he accidentally shot Thomas as he approached the vehicle and drew his firearm. The manslaughter was affirmed in 2018 by a state appeals court.

“My heart goes out to everyone who lost a loved one. I don’t know if I can do this. Andrew did not deserve to die,” said Fran Woodward during the memorial. “I love him. I miss him. He wasn’t perfect — who’s perfect?”

Gabriel Sanchez

“Gabe is missed dearly every day by his parents and many family members and friends,” said a handout prepared by Gabriel’s parents, Eddie Sanchez and Sheryl Sanchez.

Gabriel Sanchez was killed in November 2015 outside of a home in Chico after being shot and killed by detective Mark Bass. Bass was found justified for the shooting as an act of self defense after Sanchez raised a loaded handgun at officers, Ramsey said in a December 2015 press conference. Sanchez had been a suspect in two armed shooting, Ramsey said during the press conference.

“Gabriel was a kind of man who cared for everybody,” said Sanchez during the memorial. “It’s still emotional to even talk about it.”

Desmond Phillips

Desmond Phillips was killed in March 2017 after Phillips’ father, David Phillips made a medical assistance call for his son who David Phillips had claimed was having a mental health crisis and holding a knife, trying to stab him. During that night, a stun gun was used on Desmond Phillips by Chico police officers and after Phillips got up and advanced at officers, he was shot by officers Jeremy Gagnebin and Alex Fliehr, according to the 2017 officer involved shooting report.

A wrongful death claim was filed in 2017 and the city denied the allegations in March 2018.

The Attorney’s Office declined to peruse criminal charges against the police officers and the decision was upheld in September 2018 by the he California Attorney General’s Office. In 2018 a lawsuit was filed against the city of Chico and the three Chico police officers.

“I want to thank the families that are here,” said David Phillips.

Phillips took time out of his dedication to urge the audience to file complaints against Ramsey.

“There is no way to console a parent that loses their child to violence,” said Ramsey. “My job is to determine if those officers are criminally liable.”

Stephen Vest

Vest was killed in October 2020 during a night where he wielded a knife and chased a semitrailer driver and a Petco employee. A Chico police officer used a stun gun on Vest and after he continued to walk towards police, he was shot by Sgt. Nick Bauer and officer Tyler Johnson, said a 2020 officer involved shooting report. In January 2021, Ramsey found the Chico police officers’ actions justified.

Myra Micalizio

Micalizio was killed in Palermo in 2018 after officers responded to a call that claimed that Micalizio was trespassing a family’s home, where a resident reported her as acting “strange” according the 2018 officer involved shooting report. After Micalizio backed her car toward a Butte County Sheriff’s Office deputy, shots were fired by deputies Charles Lair and Mary Barker, killing Micalizio.

In July 2018, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed and in February 2019, Ramsey cleared the two Butte County sheriff’s deputies.

In October 2019, the wrongful death lawsuit was settled for $250,000.



FROM PAGE 1

close range. Chico police responded to the scene after being notified of the shooting. After it was determined that Rushing was in a bathroom, law enforcement was met with a standstill before officers went into the bathroom.

After a struggle that included Rushing striking an officer with a ceramic shard, a K-9 being ordered to bite Tyler Rushing and after Tyler Rushing stabbed Chico police Sgt. Scott Ruppel with a ballpoint pen, Ruppel fired, striking Rushing twice, according to the final report. After being shot, Rushing was on the ground when a stun gun was used on Rushing and he was handcuffed.

On Sept. 28, 2017, Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey cleared Ruppel and the security guard after having found that they had acted in reasonable self-defense. In February 2018, the Rushing family filed a wrongful death claim citing negligence and/or intentional conduct. In August 2019, the office of the attorney general found that the office of the district attorney did not abuse its discretion when it decided to not file criminal charges against the law enforcement. In July 2020, Judge Morrison England granted a motion for summary judgement for the two law enforcement officers, dismissing the case. The Rushing family appealed. In December, the court of appeals reinstated the civil lawsuit between the family of Tyler Rushing and the city of Chico citing that the use of the stun gun was potentially excessive.

“If by chance any police officers or their friends happen to be here, I think that’s awesome,” said Rushing. “You as a police officer should hear

about the effects of using bullets. You’re not just shooting that suspect. You’re shooting a family.”

Breanne Sharpe

Sharpe was killed in September 2013 after an early morning car chase when officers reportedly feared for their lives. Sharpe’s mother, Mindy Losee filed a lawsuit against Chico and several Chico police officers but it was dismissed in 2016 by a district court judge. In 2018, the court of appeals revived the case and in January 2019, the city settled with Losee for $950,000.

Andrew Thomas

Victoria Woodward, mother of Thomas, stood in front of the audience to remember her son that was shot in Paradise after a car chase and crash in 2015.

“He’s been gone a long time and I miss him,” said Woodward during the memorial.

Patrick Feaster, the former Paradise police officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in October 2016. In court, Feaster claimed he accidentally shot Thomas as he approached the vehicle and drew his firearm. The manslaughter was affirmed in 2018 by a state appeals court.

“My heart goes out to everyone who lost a loved one. I don’t know if I can do this. Andrew did not deserve to die,” said Fran Woodward during the memorial. “I love him. I miss him. He wasn’t perfect — who’s perfect?”

Gabriel Sanchez

“Gabe is missed dearly every day by his parents and many family members and friends,” said a handout prepared by Gabriel’s parents, Eddie Sanchez and Sheryl Sanchez.

Gabriel Sanchez was killed in November 2015 outside of a home in Chico after being shot and killed by detective Mark Bass. Bass was found justified for the shooting as an act of self defense after Sanchez raised a loaded handgun at officers, Ramsey said in a December 2015 press conference. Sanchez had been a suspect in two armed shooting, Ramsey said during the press conference.

“Gabriel was a kind of man who cared for everybody,” said Sanchez during the memorial. “It’s still emotional to even talk about it.”

Desmond Phillips

Desmond Phillips was killed in March 2017 after Phillips’ father, David Phillips made a medical assistance call for his son who David Phillips had claimed was having a mental health crisis and holding a knife, trying to stab him. During that night, a stun gun was used on Desmond Phillips by Chico police officers and after Phillips got up and advanced at officers, he was shot by officers Jeremy Gagnebin and Alex Fliehr, according to the 2017 officer involved shooting report.

A wrongful death claim was filed in 2017 and the city denied the allegations in March 2018.

The Attorney’s Office declined to peruse criminal charges against the police officers and the decision was upheld in September 2018 by the he California Attorney General’s Office. In 2018 a lawsuit was filed against the city of Chico and the three Chico police officers.

“I want to thank the families that are here,” said David Phillips.

Phillips took time out of his dedication to urge the audience to file complaints against Ramsey.

“There is no way to console a parent that loses their child to violence,” said Ramsey. “My job is to determine if those officers are criminally liable.”

Stephen Vest

Vest was killed in October 2020 during a night where he wielded a knife and chased a semitrailer driver and a Petco employee. A Chico police officer used a stun gun on Vest and after he continued to walk towards police, he was shot by Sgt. Nick Bauer and officer Tyler Johnson, said a 2020 officer involved shooting report. In January 2021, Ramsey found the Chico police officers’ actions justified.

Myra Micalizio

Micalizio was killed in Palermo in 2018 after officers responded to a call that claimed that Micalizio was trespassing a family’s home, where a resident reported her as acting “strange” according the 2018 officer involved shooting report. After Micalizio backed her car toward a Butte County Sheriff’s Office deputy, shots were fired by deputies Charles Lair and Mary Barker, killing Micalizio.

In July 2018, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed and in February 2019, Ramsey cleared the two Butte County sheriff’s deputies.

In October 2019, the wrongful death lawsuit was settled for $250,000.



Two people in the audience wear “Justice 4Desmond shirts” during a memorial at Trinity United Methodist Church in Chico.

KIMBERLY MORALES — ENTERPRISE-RECORD





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