Report: Woman Shot By Police Spoke Of Suicide
Yuba City Woman Also Faced Foreclosure, DA Says
UPDATED: 4:49 pm PDT June 17, 2010
YUBA CITY, Calif. — A woman shot and killed by Yuba City police had a high level of alcohol and antidepressants in her system, and she recently had spoken of suicide, according to a report from the Sutter County district attorney.
The district attorney's investigation also reveals more details about the night 67-year-old Victoria Roger-Vasselin was killed.
A census worker went to Roger-Vasselin's home at about 9 or 9:30 p.m. May 20 to collect census data, the DA's office said. A man, later identified as Lionel Patterson, shut the door in her face, but later cooperated and was answering questions.
Then, the DA's report said, Roger-Vasselin came up behind him and pointed a handgun in the census worker's face.
The census worker ran and called police.
Five Yuba City officers went to the home, and one officer knocked on the door. The DA said Patterson eventually answered and pointed a gun at the officer.
The DA's office said the officer who knocked on the door stepped back and crawled away, while the four others told Patterson to drop the gun. He moved back into the doorway, the DA said, then emerged without the gun.
Patterson told police there was still a woman inside as he stepped away from the door.
Officers then saw the barrel of a shotgun coming through the door, according to the DA's report. One officer saw Roger-Vasselin — naked — holding the gun at waist height, ready to shoot.
The DA said the officers yelled for her to drop the gun and warned they'd shoot. When the woman swung the shotgun barrel in one officer's direction, he fired.
Another officer, thinking Roger-Vasselin was trying to find a target, fired at the same moment.
In all, six shots were fired, and Roger-Vasselin was hit four times.
According to the DA's report, Roger-Vasselin's house was under foreclosure, and she was packed and moving in with a relative.
Patterson commented "That's what she wanted" after the shooting, the DA's office said.
The Yuba City Police Department said in a statement that its officers were forced to make a split-second decision in a dangerous incident.
"We would like to express our sorrow to all persons involved in this tragic event and those affected by it also," the department said in a statement.