Man's arrest outside Live Oak spurs lawsuit
A suit filed by a family that says children witnessed the arrest of their father when Sutter County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to a report of shots fired should be dismissed, the county said.
Benjamin Garcia, 35, opened the back door of his home with a loaded shotgun in his hand, was slow to put down the weapon and didn't comply with an order to step away from the gun, according to the county.
Other weapons, including an assault rifle, were found during a protective sweep of the Krehe Road home near Live Oak, the county said.
Sutter County's motion for summary judgment will be heard Aug. 22 in Sutter County Superior Court. The Board of Supervisors took up the case last week in closed session.
The Garcias in their lawsuit filed over the Oct. 26, 2008, incident said it's not illegal to shoot firearms in unincorporated Sutter County and that deputies parked about 60 yards away from their home and walked to the residence when responding to the 1:18 a.m. shooting report. Garcia heard the family dog barking, got a firearm and went to the back door where deputies shot him with a stun gun, the family's lawsuit states. The four children were ordered out of their bedrooms, according to the filing in Sutter County Superior Court.
Garcia in a deposition said he had decided earlier to do some target shooting at empty beer cans.
Deputies arrested Garcia on suspicion of resisting law enforcement officers and possessing abandoned property and he remained in jail for 13 days before the District Attorney's Office dismissed all charges, according to the family.
An attorney for the county in a court filing stated that a family member said during a deposition taken after the lawsuit that the children remained asleep during the incident.
The county in its response to the lawsuit also said that Garcia is an illegal immigrant. His attorney during a deposition cited the Fifth Amendment and told Garcia not to answer questions about his citizenship status or deportation proceedings.
Garcia had consumed 10-12 beers the day of his arrest, said the county, which stated that a neighbor along Krehe had called 911 to report hearing several shots fired. The neighbor in a deposition said that at least 20 shots were fired and that music at the home played around the clock.
A bag filled with handguns and rifles was found in a bedroom, according to the county. Garcia said he found the weapons in 2007 in a black bag in an orchard.
Attorneys for the family and Sutter County could not be reached for comment Friday.
Chuck Smith, spokesman for the county, said, "We don't comment on pending litigation."
CONTACT reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4780.