Parents of immature male killed by Citrus Heights officer find answers
March 6, 2016 - Picnic Time
Hunter Todd survived heart medicine and 5 other operations by a time he was 5, afterwards clawed his approach to a world-class ranking as a route curtain and achieved contestant in his teens.
Less than dual months after he incited 20, his life finished in a predawn dim of a Citrus Heights cul-de-sac. A city troops officer discharged during slightest 6 rounds into his physique while responding to a news of a probable automobile burglary.
“He’s all we had,” Todd’s father, Terry Todd, 55, conspicuous in an speak with The Sacramento Bee final month as he choked behind tears. “All we had.”
Despite open annals requests, a sovereign polite rights lawsuit and an try by a Todd family counsel to have a FBI investigate, it’s still not transparent what happened during 2 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2013.
Officer Ryan Smith, with 13 months on a troops force, conspicuous in a deposition during a lawsuit that he shot Todd in a behind as a 135-pound immature male lunged face-first into his pickup lorry to get a gun.
But no gun was ever found – his relatives contend he never owned one – and an autopsy would after uncover a bullets entered Todd’s chest, neck and an arm, not his back.
Terry Todd and his ex-wife, Devra Selenis, Hunter Todd’s mother, sued. They concluded 10 months ago to dump their polite box in lapse for a $2 million remuneration from Citrus Heights, one of a region’s largest settlements ever in a box stemming from a prejudicial genocide explain conflicting a law coercion officer.
The agreement refers to a allotment as a “good faith concede of a doubtful claim” and states that it is “not to be construed as an acknowledgment of guilt on a partial of any party.”
The occurrence perceived small open notice during a time, and a allotment was sensitively reached. The city enclosed a sustenance observant that “because of a sensitivities of this case,” those concerned are not to hit a media or any other entity.
The allotment conspicuous a parties could not criticism on a sharpened over a three-paragraph open matter that remarkable Todd “did not have a rapist history, was not a squad member and was not armed during his brief hit with Officer Smith.”
The agreement also precluded a parties from “posting .. any comments on amicable media about this case.”
But according to California law, a allotment paid with open income is public. When The Bee requested a settlement, a City of Citrus Heights supposing it underneath a California Public Records Act.
Todd’s relatives conspicuous they staid their polite lawsuit given they felt they had pushed a box as distant as they could. “We wanted them to be worried with a finish result,” Selenis conspicuous of Citrus Heights. “We usually wanted to find out a truth, and a law is unless we record fit we don’t get any information. You unequivocally don’t.”
The relatives conspicuous a city pulpy for a sustenance in a allotment agreement that would have prevented them from posterior a rapist charge of a officer. “They didn’t wish us to hit any prosecutorial agencies to pursue this, and we had them take that out,” Terry Todd said.
Todd’s relatives and their profession took a matter to a FBI final tumble seeking a rapist examination into a deadly shooting.
“We’d like to follow it as distant as we can until they tell us we can’t go any farther,” Selenis said. “If there’s a jury to confirm a officer needs to be charged with a crime, if they tell us no, afterwards it’s as distant as we can go. We’ve finished all we can as Hunter’s relatives to try and get probity for him.”
What, if anything, a FBI intends to do stays secret. Federal prosecutors and a FBI refused to plead a matter with The Bee.
No DA examination
Smith is still a Citrus Heights troops officer. He is reserved to a San Juan Unified School District as a safety/school apparatus officer during dual high schools, where he has perceived commendations for his work in child abuse investigations and his work with students. He serves on a house of a Citrus Heights Police Athletic League and was respected in 2014 and 2015 with awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Smith did not respond to a ask for an speak that The Bee done by a Police Department.
Asked by The Bee for a duplicate of a troops news on a shooting, a dialect expelled usually dual of a 11 pages of a strange news and no reports on a successive inquiry. The dialect supposing a two-page minute to The Bee observant that it “conducted a extensive examination into a contribution in 2013” that privileged Smith.
That examination was conducted during a duration when then-District Attorney Jan Scully’s bureau was not conducting reviews of officer-involved shootings given of bill cuts.
“Due to this protocol, a Citrus Heights Police Department examination was not submitted to a District Attorney for review,” a troops conspicuous in a matter to The Bee.
By 2015, newly inaugurated District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert had resumed reviewing officer-involved shootings. The Citrus Heights Police Department conducted another examination of a box itself, regulating officers not concerned in a initial probe, and afterwards submitted a commentary to her office.
The goal, a Police Department said, was to obtain vetting “by an eccentric third celebration to contend clarity and open trust.”
The District Attorney’s Office declined to examination a box given so most time had elapsed given a sharpened and a investigators were not creatively involved.
“We wish to contend a open trust in a examination process,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said. “Reviewing an officer-involved sharpened dual and a half years after a occurrence and not carrying been concerned during a opening would not offer that objective.”
Since his death, Todd’s relatives have attempted to keep their usually son’s memory alive with a commemorative 5K run and a concession to Sutter General Hospital’s pediatric center. Todd was his father’s usually child. Selenis, who is remarried, has a teenage daughter and a stepdaughter.
At first, desiring a allotment agreement was confidential, Selenis conspicuous she was fearful to speak to The Bee about a case. But she and her ex-husband non-stop adult after receiving assurances from their counsel that a allotment agreement is a open document.
How this tragedy played out is still formidable for Todd’s relatives to comprehend. They both have successful careers – his in genuine estate, hers in selling – and felt sanctified that their son had overcome a inborn heart defect.
Photos of Todd as a teen uncover a trim, curly-haired child using a trails nearby Beal’s Point in Granite Bay. Some of a cinema were taken for a 2008 Sacramento Bee underline about his accomplishments.
He participated in boat racing and route running, fixation third during a 13-mile, high-level foe in Hawaii as a high propagandize sophomore. He won countless medals and banners, that his father widespread out on Selenis’ dining room list as he and his ex-wife talked about their son’s brief life and aroused death.
Todd became meddlesome in physique building and bulked adult to 170 pounds during one point. He graduated from Roseville’s Oakmont High School in 2011, though struggled to find his approach after that.
He enrolled during Sierra College, his relatives said, though showed small seductiveness in posterior his education.
He dreamed of apropos a firefighter or fasten a military.
“He took a exam for a Marines and Air Force, and he did utterly well,” conspicuous Selenis, 50. “But a problem is, he had a pre-existing condition.
“And when he couldn’t go to that subsequent level, we consider it broken him.”
A year or so before his life finished abruptly on Debbie Ann Court in a core of a night, Hunter Todd drifted into drug use and had teenager scrapes with a law, his father said. A toxicology news says he had methamphetamine in his complement when he died.
Terry Todd conspicuous his son was stopped by troops a integrate of times, once for possessing thievery tools, once for indolence when his pickup lorry ran out of gas. He had no rapist record, however.
His relatives hoped they could get him into rehab. But during some point, he finished adult unresolved out with an comparison male with a story of teenager skill crimes.
That man, Richard Martin Duran Jr., was 36 during a time. Todd during times parked his lorry outward Duran’s Citrus Heights chateau and slept in it, Todd’s relatives said.
On Jan. 3, 2013, a span done their approach in that lorry to Debbie Ann Court, a still cul de weal of 8 homes with one travel light during a opening and another during a behind of a circle.
They were apparently scouting for vehicles to burglarize, and a questionable proprietor called a police.
No gun found
Smith gave his chronicle of what happened during a 100-minute sworn deposition on Oct. 2, 2014, underneath doubt by Federico Sayre, a profession for Todd’s parents.
The officer, who became a full-time worker of a dialect in Nov 2011, began his 12 1/2 -hour change during 6 p.m. on Jan. 2. He was good into his unit when a call came during 2 a.m. about dual suspected burglars in a cul de weal off Old Auburn Road.
Smith testified he got a call while on unit nearby Auburn Boulevard and Antelope Road, gathering to a stage in about 5 minutes, pulled into a justice and speckled a dark, full-sized pickup truck.
He put his spotlight on a lorry and saw transformation inside.
“I saw a subject’s conduct arise adult from behind a steering round and demeanour in my direction,” Smith conspicuous in a deposition. He combined that a male “had a smirk, or rather of a grin on his face.”
“I remember lifting my voice to try to safeguard that a chairman could hear me from that stretch and being inside a automobile and saying, ‘Police, uncover me your hands,’ ” Smith said.
Smith conspicuous a male lifted his hands palms out, though forsaken one palm subsequent a lurch twice before obeying his commands to exit a truck. Todd left a lorry cab and kept his hands in a air, Smith said.
“Did his hands reason any weapons?” Sayre asked.
“Not that we could see, no,” Smith replied.
“Did we ever see him holding a arms that whole night?” a counsel asked.
“No,” Smith answered.
The officer described some relocating moments, during that Todd took a few stairs toward him before interlude on Smith’s command, afterwards reached toward his waistband a integrate of times as Smith radioed dispatch.
“Based on a fact that he during mixed times during this indicate reached towards his waistband, we wanted to see if there was anything in his waistband,” Smith said. “So we asked him to spin in a circle.”
Todd started to spin and then, according to Smith, forsaken his hands and sprinted a few stairs to a lorry and dived head-first into a cab.
“He was relocating his arms and tip physique in a approach that told me that he was perplexing to get something out of a vehicle,” Smith testified.
“I yelled, ‘Get out of a car! Get out of a car! Get on a ground! Stop, I’m going to shoot!’ ” Smith said. “I can’t remember my accurate words, though …”
Then, Smith said, he discharged “two or three” rounds from his .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol into a core of Todd’s back.
Smith swore that he changed toward a lorry and, notwithstanding a dim of a cab, saw Todd’s hands still relocating as if he was feeling for something on a truck’s passenger-side floorboard.
“I continued to say, ‘Get out of a car, uncover me your hands,’ ” Smith said. He conspicuous Todd did not respond and he shot him again “two or three” times.
Smith conspicuous he was about 4 feet from Todd’s feet adhering out a driver’s-side door, and that he had grown “tunnel vision” as he stared during Todd and shouted for him to get out of a truck.
“I thought, ‘I am sharpened this chairman and it’s not interlude what he’s doing,’ ” Smith said. “And perplexing to figure out, we know, what else can we do?
“I’m sharpened him, I’m revelation him to stop, and he’s still doing what he’s doing. I’m thinking, ‘Is he wearing a vest? …’
“I remember a suspicion channel my mind, like, ‘Do we need to fire him in a conduct to make him stop perplexing to do what he’s doing?’ ”
Instead, Smith said, he discharged one or dual some-more times into a suspect’s back.
Then, Smith said, “He finally stopped relocating as if he was perplexing to strech what he was reaching.”
If Todd was reaching for something, it was not a firearm. Smith testified that he after schooled no gun was found in a truck.
Bullet wounds in front
Todd was conspicuous passed during 3:02 a.m. during San Juan Mercy Hospital, with a means of genocide listed as “multiple gunshot wounds.”
An autopsy achieved by a Sacramento County Coroner’s Office found 6 gunshot wounds, one to Todd’s neck, one to his chest and 4 to his left arm.
The wound to his chest was reported as being discharged from “left to right, downward, front to back.” The wound to his neck was listed as “left to right, downwards, somewhat front to back.”
Smith offering no reason for how Todd could have postulated a wounds to a front of his body, observant in his deposition that he had not seen a coroner’s report.
“Do we know that there’s not a singular bullet wound in his back?” Sayre asked a officer.
“I didn’t know that,” Smith said.
“All a bullet wounds are in his front, one in his chest by his heart,” Sayre said.
The matter Citrus Heights troops Commander Daman Christensen supposing to The Bee does not residence a inequality between Smith observant he shot Todd in a behind and a autopsy formula display a opposite.
“Any occurrence that formula in a person’s genocide is comfortless and contingency be entirely investigated,” a matter said. “The value of all tellurian life is a tip care of a policy, protocols and training.”
Todd’s confederate was arrested during a stage “still sitting in a driver’s chair of a automobile he was burglarizing,” according to a apportionment of a troops news supposing to The Bee.
The Police Department redacted a accomplice’s name from a report, notwithstanding a fact that a dialect had identified him as Duran in a 2013 news release.
Duran, who could not be reached for comment, was charged with second grade thievery of a vehicle, attempted automobile thievery and possession of thievery tools. Six days after Todd was shot to death, Duran pleaded no competition to a attempted automobile theft, a other dual charges were dismissed, and he was condemned to 6 months in jail.
Todd’s relatives contend they did not learn of their son’s genocide until after in a day.
“One of his buddies called and said, ‘Where’s Hunter?’ ” Terry Todd recalled. “I had followed a news given we saw something occurred in Citrus Heights and there was a lorry and dual guys.
“This was about lunchtime a subsequent day. we said, ‘I don’t know. Was he concerned in that stuff?’ ”
Todd left work and gathering home to find a business label from a Citrus Heights troops officer on his doorway with a note that read, “Please call us.”
Devra Selenis found out when her ex-husband called with a blunt message: “I consider Hunter’s dead.”
Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189
Largest law coercion settlements
A $2 million May 2015 payout by a city of Citrus Heights in a troops sharpened genocide of Hunter Todd is one of a largest singular settlements of a law coercion prejudicial genocide or extreme force explain in a region. Other poignant cases that were staid before going to hearing include:
2003: City of Sacramento agrees to compensate sum of $1,050,000 in genocide of Donald E. Venerable Jr., who was shot by a troops officer in Feb 2001 while holding a cellphone.
2004: Sacramento County agrees to compensate $1.5 million to settle explain by Jennifer Graham, whose leg was ripped by a sheriff’s K-9 dog and left her incompetent to lift her leg.
August 2009: Sacramento County agrees to compensate $1.45 million to mom of William Francis Sams, who died in a county jail in 2006 after pang from a seperated ulcer.
August 2010: A sovereign decider approves a allotment to finish a box in that a sovereign supervision and county of Sacramento concluded to compensate out a sum of $926,000 to a family of Matthew McEvers, who hanged himself in a county jail in May 2005 after being arrested on sovereign charges.
September 2012: UC Davis agrees to compensate out $1 million to students pepper-sprayed by campus troops during a pacific Nov 2011 criticism on campus.
November 2012: Placer County agrees to compensate $825,000 to Sergey Pautov over a 2011 occurrence in that he stole 7 Scratcher’s lottery tickets from a Rocklin marketplace and was shot 3 times in a posterior as he fled an off-duty sheriff’s sergeant.
January 2013: Twin Rivers Unified School District agrees to compensate $650,000 to 5 group who claimed they were victims of district troops savagery and fake detain in a 2010 incident.
August 2013: University of California and city of Davis determine to compensate $774,000 to UC Davis tyro Timothy C. Nelson, who was shot in a eye with a peppers round by troops during an unit formidable in Davis following festivities during a 2004 Picnic Day during UC Davis.
April 2014: City of Manteca agrees to compensate $2.2 million to family of Ernesto Duenez Jr. after he was shot in Jun 2011 by a Manteca troops officer.
March 2015: Sacramento County agrees to compensate $515,000 in a Jan 2012 genocide of invalid Mark Anthony Scott, who died in a Main Jail after spitting adult blood for hours.
October 2015: City of West Sacramento agrees to settlements totaling $4.11 million to victims of troops Officer Sergio Alvarez, who was convicted of abducting and raping during slightest half a dozen women while on patrol.