News


Officer who shot woman said he felt his life was in danger

By JoanDentler, Bay City News Service

An 18-year-old woman shot and killed by a San Mateo County sheriff's deputy near Half Moon Bay Tuesday night was wielding a kitchen knife and came at the deputy in a threatening manner, according to San Mateo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dep. Rebecca Rosenblatt.

Rosenblatt said San Mateo County Sheriff's Dep. Mehn Trieu, felt his life was in danger and had a split second to make the decision to discharge his weapon, killing Yanira Serrano-Garcia.

The incident took place at about 9:20 p.m. at the Moonridge housing complex on Miramontes Point Road.

Trieu has been in law enforcement for nine years, and has been with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office for several years, Rosenblatt said.

According to Rosenblatt, the last officer-involved shooting in the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office was in 2013, and in that case, the person shot was not killed. The last time an officer-involved shooting ended with the death of a suspect was in 2008, according to Rosenblatt.

"Those statistics speak for themselves, but it's unfortunate that once in a while deputies are forced to use their weapons, and this was one of those cases," Rosenblatt said.

The information received by emergency personnel who responded to the incident was that the woman was acting erratically and violently and had a knife. The woman's family asked her to put the knife down, and when she didn't comply, family members called the fire department for medical assistance, Rosenblatt said.

Rosenblatt explained that in a situation where a person may be a danger to emergency personnel, sheriff's deputies are the first to respond to make sure the scene is safe for medical and fire crews.

The fire department was staging nearby while deputies secured the scene.

Rosenblatt said that within about 20 seconds of arriving on the scene, the shooting occurred.

Trieu is on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, Rosenblatt said.

No deputies were injured in the incident.

A joint investigation by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office is underway.

Comments

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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

So sorry to hear about this, I was just talking about this very subject at a radio station interview this week with Juan Lopez, and Marl DePaula.

My condolences to the family and friends of this girl.

Wake up San Mateo County we must do better than this, Stop killing citizens.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 11:06 am

What happened to stun guns? ABC News says this mentally ill young girl, who hadn't taken her meds, may have been shot in the BACK!

Fire that cop immediately. He has no judgment. And use this tragedy in the situation-training for all of the other cops before another sick child, maybe yours, is killed.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

pogo is a registered user.

"Fire this cop immediately."

Seriously?

You know NOTHING about the incident yet.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

I'm with POGO on this at this moment we nothing about this. What I was talking about was a county wide policy to eliminate the killing of citizens by police officers, more training.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

News report
Web Link


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm

How about we let all the facts surface and hold our judgement until then? I seriously think the whole Innocent until PROVEN guilty concept is lost in America, I think that happened something around OJ Simpson. If it proves that the girl/woman did pose a credible threat to the officer then the shooting was justified, if she did not then he should be brought up on charges and face a jury of his peers. Simple as that.


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Posted by Here's the problem
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The jury so to speak that will decide whether this shooting was justified is comprised of his fellow cops, and San Mateo Dist. Atty. Steve Wagstaff, who serves as a rubber stamp for their actions. It may have been totally justified. But if it wasn't, they will say it was.

On the face of it, an 18-year-old girl without a gun seems unlikely to leave an officer with no other option than using bullets.


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Posted by Witness Report
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Dyanna Ruiz, 12, said she had been walking to a friend's house when she saw the deputy running away from a woman who had her arm raised and was chasing him with what appeared to be a knife.

"I saw the girl running at him with something in her hands," Dyanna said. "I didn't know what was happening. I was really scared about what to do."

The deputy saw Dyanna, stopped and yelled at Serrano, the girl said. When Serrano kept coming at him, the deputy fired, Dyanna said.


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Posted by Not that rare
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm

[Post removed. The deputy has been identified and is not the same deputy.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Is everyone happy that Munks was re-elected? What would Lopez do if he was faced with the situation that the responding deputy faced? Well, I guess the fix is in, even if it was a justified shooting, because that's how things are done in this county.


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Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Robert D. is a registered user.

@ Not That Rare
Sure hope that the deputy involved in the incident this week wasn't the same deputy in this story from the Modesto Bee.
Generally I sit back as POGO and Michael, Peter and a few others have valid comments. Once in a while I have to weigh in. Your comment is so removed from an factual basis and is missing any content a common teenager would have on a high school exam or report. Modesto is in no way connected to San Mateo County. Your comment are purely to draw attention to the fact that at time officers are required to use firearms. At even more remote times they have to use them. I have yet to meet an officer who has any desire to use his firearm.
To here's the problem... Same thing. Do you know factually that the DA will simply waive off this officer involved shooting? No. Do you know how many cops in San Mateo County have been prosecuted for crimes? I will assume no based on your response. Does that mean this will end up correct - I have no idea nor do you. As for an opposing Sheriff is that is your concern, well only 1 vote was cast for anyone other than the current Sheriff so either you did not vote or?
We do not have the facts and you are assuming an outcome prior to establishing the facts.
Here is a thought: The woman killed and her family are grieving and wanting answers. The Deputy involved and I am sure his family are not in a good place either. The facts will come out. At that point they can be challenged. Until that time, comments, respectfully should be with factual basis or thoughts with the families involved.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

Hey, Robert D!! The story from the Modesto Bee says that Pronske was an off-duty deputy from the San Mateo Sheriff's office.

But here's ANOTHER incident where Pronske shot and killed someone while he was on duty, and in San Mateo County.

San Jose Mercury News (California)

October 20, 1994 Thursday MORNING FINAL STREET EDITION

EX-HOSTAGE SUES FOR DAMAGES AFTER DEPUTY'S SHOT INURES HER

BYLINE: Mercury News Staff and Wire Report

SECTION: LOCAL; Pg. 2B

LENGTH: 217 words



A North Fair Oaks woman who was held at gunpoint by her boyfriend
until a sheriff's deputy shot and killed the man in her apartment last
spring has filed a lawsuit against San Mateo County because a
police-fired bullet injured her hand.
In her personal injury suit filed earlier this week, Maria Mora
contends "deputies negligently and carelessly discharged their
weapons" while she was being held hostage during the tense standoff
April 17 in the unincorporated area adjacent Redwood City.


The district attorney's office, which investigated the shooting,
concluded that only one deputy, Robert Pronske, fired shots that
killed Jorge Negrete Jimenez, 27. The investigation found that Pronske
fired in self-defense.


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Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Robert D. is a registered user.

@ Holly L - fair point. I had not read the full article on Modesto. That said the papers have identified this deputy Menh Trieu. So my point remains. We do not have all the facts. Here is what is reported in the press: The incident marked the second officer-involved shooting in San Mateo County this year, making 2014 the first year in the last five with more than one officer-involved shooting.I do not know how many officers / deputies are in san mateo county but 1 per year and tragically two this year still seems low compared to what TV shows would lend you to believe. So to "Not That Rare" I would suggest, yes, "That Rare" Again, I think once the facts come out, then is time for a healthy discussion.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Brian is a registered user.

So the family says she had a knife and she stopped taking her meds. When the police were called they were told she was armed. If we take these as facts, which I will only do for the sake of the argument, it says there may have been cause to protect himself or others. So the immediate damnation of the officer by people on this discussion is premature and may likely be completely wrong. Police do not get hired with the expectation that they will take unnecessary risks that put their life in jeopardy.

It is a similar case to the kid with the fake assault weapon who when ordered to put it down turned toward police and supposedly raised the barrel. He was shot and killed and people blame the police. Who is really at fault? the kid for not following instructions? his parents for letting him go out with something that looked like a deadly weapon? the police for shooting him when they thought he was about to shoot at them?


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2014 at 7:10 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

CIT Training in San Mateo County
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Yanira Serrano 18 R.I.P.
I attended the HMB council meeting last night per the public request of the family I expressed my condolences to Tony Serrano. I asked him if anybody from the county has made contact with the family, No was the answer. While I was next to him council members came up expressed their condolences and let him know this was a SMC Supervisor issue not city. I saw reps for Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon arrive and I thought that is more like it when you have a 18 year old girl killed by Law Enforcement within 20 seconds of arrival. I was wrong they were at the meeting to show support for a BRIDGE and after they spoke they left like they had never heard of Yanira Serrano, the council went on with the normal meeting while a large group of people wanted to speak about the killing. One council member even reported about how successful the Tip a Cop event was a couple of weeks prior, I just shaking my head at the lack of empathy for the family. How could you talk about the Sheriff's Tip a Cop event when the audience was full because a Deputy shot and killed a girl……wow


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Tonight the MidPen Housing held its 3rd private meeting at MoonRidge HMB. The guest speaker was District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. No reporters were allowed in. The June 5, 2014 meeting Supervisor Don Horsley attended. No reporters.

Steve Wagstaffe should not have gone to this meeting period. He is conducting the investigation of the Sheriff Deputy shooting and killing Yanira Serrano within 20 seconds off getting to the scene.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 8:33 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Michael:

you keep hammering on the fact that the shooting occurred within 20 seconds of the Deputy's arrival. Do you think, that just possibly, it was because the Deputy was attacked within 20 seconds of his arrival. An attack he had absolutely no control over. Come to my house and let me charge you with a knife and let's see what you do. Somehow I don't think standing there and allowing yourself to be stabbed is going to be on the list of things you might do. From what I read a witness said the deputy did try to put distance between himself and his attacker.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Menlo Voter, I didn't make my point very well. what I meant by the 20 second comment is that the Deputy possibly put himself in harms way without backup or a plan that would have kept both himself and Yanira alive and safe.

The Spokesperson for the Sheriff Office has said that Deputies arrived yet several witnesses said that only the one deputy did. As soon as the 911 tapes are available several things will be cleared up. What was the conversation between the Sgt and the deputy as to the plan. What was the plan?


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Michael:

as an ex-law enforcement officer I can tell you that sometimes there isn't a "plan." You have an emergency. You may think you have innocent people in imminent danger and you need to respond. Sometimes that means you have to put yourself in a potentially hazardous situation to protect other people. That's the job. And you usually "don't know what you got till you know what you got." It's not a science. I'll be interested to hear all of the evidence in the investigation.


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