The man fatally shot during a traffic stop Monday in south Redding was identified this afternoon as 54-year-old Jose Venavides of Redding, who has “an extensive criminal history,” Shasta County Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Foster said.
UPDATE, March 10: Today, the Redding Police Department has named the two officers involved in the incident. The injured officer is Russell Veilleaux, an eight-year veteran with RPD and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
The officer who shot Venavides was Rebecca (Becky) Zufall, an 11-year veteran with RPD who has prior law enforcement experience with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Officer Veilleaux, who has prior law enforcement experience with the La Mesa Police Department in San Diego County, was released from the hospital and is on paid injury leave while he recuperates.
Zufall is currently on paid administrative leave, as is standard protocol while the incident is being investigated.
RPD Capt. Scott Mayberry said the investigation, which is being led by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office but also involves the District Attorney’s office and other agencies, should be concluded as early as next week. At that time, full details of what transpired will be released to the public.
Mayberry added that officer Veilleaux, who was shot in the arm just above the wrist, is expected to make a full recovery.
The sheriff’s office issued a press release Tuesday afternoon (March 8) that included a few more details about the shooting at S. Market and Elmwood streets.
“It is vital that our office maintain the integrity of the investigation, balanced with keeping the public informed. At this time we are not releasing the officers’ names involved in this incident. We hope to release that information in the near future. Regarding the two other occupants in the vehicle, neither have been arrested,” the release reads.
It gave this information about what happened:
“The facts that our office knows today is that a Redding Police Officer made a traffic stop on a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am. A second RPD officer responded as backup and a field investigation was conducted.
“During this field investigation an altercation occurred with the above suspect and both officers. The suspect was shot and killed. One of the RPD officers was shot, not critically. A .45-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene and is believed to be the suspect’s weapon involved in this incident. The Shasta County Coroner’s Office has made notification to the suspect’s next of kin.”
During the traffic stop, Venavides and another man were outside of the Grand Am when the altercation began, Foster said during a Tuesday afternoon interview. A woman was the third person in the car.
The injured officer was shot in the arm, Foster said. Based on the initial investigation, it appears the .45-caliber handgun was the suspect’s. Foster would not elaborate whether or not a bullet from the handgun (not a model that police carry) struck the officer.
“Because the investigation is not done, I don’t want to confirm that information at this time,” Foster said.
Venavides was last living at the Capri Motel in south Redding, Foster said.
Anytime an officer is shot, it’s an intense situation for all law enforcement officers, Foster said.
Officers never want someone to die, even suspects that threaten officers, Foster added.
“When someone dies, it’s a bad day,” he said. “It’s traumatic for everybody — the officer, other officers, the (slain) person’s family.
“But it’s very intense and a reminder (that it’s a dangerous job). You guys report on violence nationwide and statewide. But it’s not just something you read about. It happens in your backyard as well.”
The incident is being investigated in compliance with the “Shasta County Multi-Agency Officer Involved Critical Incident Protocol,” the release says, adding that the investigation continues and more information will be shared with the public as information is confirmed.
Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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