SOUTH SACRAMENTO — The end of a confusing and chaotic South Sacramento morning that ended the life of Dazion Flenaugh last April, sounded like this:
“Shots fired … shots fired … suspect on the ground.”
Flenaugh’s death was one that happened at the hands of officers who originally were just trying to give the 40-year-old a ride home.
After nine months of questions about how their loved one – unmedicated and suffering from some kind of mental condition – wound up hit by seven police department bullets, Flenaugh’s family finally got some answers visually with the release of the incident video Tuesday night.
“It’s just a bad time right now. It’s too soon,” said Flenaugh’s brother Damon.
Still overwhelmed by their loss and all that they’re learning, relatives weren’t yet ready to talk a full day after seeing the video.
Their lawyer is speaking out.
“One of the officers made jokes about things like … let’s just … one of the neighbors they made a suggestion ‘just take a baseball bat and hit him in the head three or four times … that’ll straighten him out ha ha ha’,” described attorney Mark Harris.
“Rather than take the least oppressive means to deescalate a situation, law enforcement chose to do something quite the opposite,” he said.
As part of a statement about the video Sacramento’s interim police chief offers condolences and says, “This incident weighs heavily on the hearts of our officers and is a reminder of the challenges of this profession.”
Police video first shows a calm Flenaugh, not under arrest, but placed in the back of a cruiser after he matched the description of man peeking into homes along Prescott Way.
Once he started getting agitated, officers say they opened their car door to check on him and he took off.
They eventually gave chase and called for back up as Flenaugh hopped fences and allegedly broke into two houses – home surveillance video showing him attacking one of them with a pickax stolen along the way.
He smashed all the way into another home with that ax and allegedly took two kitchen knives – knives police say they were eventually threatened with.
Attorney Mark Harris maintains none of the videos released show Flenaugh charging officers or the actual shooting that killed him.
Albert Gray saw Flenaugh’s last moments unfolding around his home and raced to comfort the female neighbor the 40-year-old was chasing.
“She came out running and hollering, so I went and got her. He came out … through here,” Gray said, pointing across his yard.
While Flenaugh’s family and their lawyer believe officers were in the wrong that April day, Albert Gray can only say this about the man they killed:
“Something was wrong with him … ’cause he didn’t act like he was there.”
Flenaugh’s family still doesn’t have a police report about the incident, an autopsy report or his personal effects from the day he died.
They are planning a Friday press conference.