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Sheriff: ‘Shiny metallic object’ drew fire from American Canyon police

Sheriff: ‘Shiny metallic object’ drew fire from American Canyon police

Four officers shot at suspect in fatal incident Friday

  • Updated
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All four American Canyon police officers at a Friday night traffic stop fired into the cab of a pickup truck when the driver displayed a “shiny metallic object” believed to be a firearm, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

The motorist, Angelo D. Moreno, 27, died at the scene after being hit “numerous times,” Capt. Tracey Stuart reported.

“The object Moreno pointed at the officers turned out to be a silver-colored, metal 4.5-inch opened multitool that Moreno used to simulate a firearm,” Stuart said.

Moreno, who is presumed to have died from multiple gunshot wounds, tested presumptive positive for the presence of methamphetamine and marijuana, the news release said.

The sheriff’s news release gave the fullest official account so far of what happened shortly after 10 p.m. Friday when American Canyon officers tried to stop Moreno’s vehicle, which had no license plates.

According to Stuart, Moreno failed to stop and was pursued a short distance to dead-end Newell Drive, where the suspect’s truck got stuck in a field. The truck had been report stolen earlier in the day in Rodeo in Contra Costa County, officials said.

When he was pulled over, Moreno had a glass pipe in his mouth — the type commonly used to smoke methamphetamine — and failed to obey officer commands while reaching into his mouth and other areas of the truck, Stuart said.

When he reached over to the passenger side, Moreno came up with a metallic object and held it as if it were a firearm, triggering the officers’ firing, Stuart said. The object turned out to be a multipurpose tool, she said.

The four American Canyon police officers involved in the shooting — all Napa County sheriff’s deputies assigned to the city of American Canyon — have been placed on paid administrative leave but are expected to return  to work later this week, according to the sheriff’s office.

The officers are Sgt. Mike Hunter and deputies Cullen Dodd, Bryan Schultz and Kenneth VanDyke. Hunter and Schultz both have 17 years of service, Dodd 10 years and VanDyke two years, Stuart said. One of the officers had a citizen ride-along, she said.

Autopsy results are pending, Stuart said.

Stuart said Moreno was a homeless man from the Martinez area. A relative told the Register that Moreno had been couch-surfing in Rodeo.

The shooting investigation is being conducted by the Napa County Major Crimes Task Force representing the Napa Police Department, Napa County Sheriff’s Office, Calistoga Police Department and the county District Attorney’s Office.

Once the investigation is concluded, the report will be forwarded to the Napa County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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