Chico Police shooting leaves one dead, neighborhood shaken


A 25 year old mentally ill man was shot by two Chico Police officers and died Photo credit: George Johnston

George Johnston

Pop, pop, pop were the sounds filling the streets of West 4th Avenue as a police involved shooting left one man dead.

Chico Fire Department and Emergency Medical Training Services responded to a 911 call from a father who said his son was acting erratically at the Knoll Apartment complex March 17 at 7:30 p.m., according to Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien. When the fire and medical response teams arrived, the son began acting hostile towards them. The fire department and EMTs then called for more assistance from the Chico Police Department.

The 25-year-old man, who had a history of mental illness, was holding a knife as police came onto the scene, O’Brien said in a press conference. Police tried diffusing the situation. The father said his son was trying to kill him with the knife and threatening his grandchildren.

Chico Police then broke down the door separating them. They tried to calm everything down, but the son was still threatening his father and children, according to O’Brien. The police tased him but he leaped up and started slashing at Chico police, O’Brien said. Two officers fired their guns at the son. The son fell to the ground and was rushed to Enloe Medical Center. He eventually died from his injuries, according to police.

The father claims he heard 6 shots fired while Kendra Graybill, his neighbor, said she heard 8.

“From my perspective, I heard excessive shots, eight in a row,” Graybill said.

Graybill says her son was shaken up and threw her kids into the bathtub. A police officer came up to Graybill’s window and told her to get down while the shooting occurred. Graybill says some property damage happened to her back yard during the incident, but Chico Police were nice to her family.

“I glad me and my kids are safe,” Graybill said. “I feel very very sad for the family and mentally ill population.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, most of West 4th Avenue was blocked from the intersections of North Cherry Street to North Cedar Street as police investigated the scene. People, cars and the B-Line bus were told to take different routes. The road block was lifted early March 18.

The Butte County Officer Involved Shooting and Critical Incident Protocol Team will be investigating the shooting. The Department of Justice will take care of the crime scene itself while Distract Attorney Mike Ramsey will head the investigation.

Chico Police Chief O’Brien taking a second before continuing with the press conference on the police involved shooting Photo credit: George Johnston


“I want to be clear,” O’Brien said. “This is a tragic incident… for the family, the officers, for everyone involved and that is regardless of the outcome of the investigation.”

George Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.