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Sister questions actions in brother’s death

October 19, 2017 GMT

The sister of the man who died in a standoff with deputies in Olivehurst says she believes officers could have handled the situation differently.

She shared her views as Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor said, at this point in the investigation, officials know Eddie Ichiro Sanders was armed with a screwdriver during the confrontation.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson originally told the Appeal-Democrat details about the suspect being armed could not be provided, as it is an ongoing investigation.

Sanders, 25, was killed after he allegedly barricaded himself in an attic; deputies responded to the 4200 block of Fiesta Way just before 5 a.m. Friday for a reported burglary in progress.

Davis said Sanders, who is from Red Bluff, was in the area visiting family and the home belonged to an aunt and cousin. She also claimed that no one was home, Sanders was not armed and that he was suffering from mental health issues.

“He was a really important person in my life, he was a great kid,” Davis said Tuesday.

Durfor refuted the claims. He said the original call for service came in from occupants of the home awakened by banging in the garage area of their home; they told responders that it was not clear who was trying to break in, but it could be a cousin, Sanders.

Though the identity of the suspect was not known at the time, the occupants told responders that if it was Sanders, he should not be at the house as he was not welcome.

Between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., deputies made repeated attempts to get Sanders out of the attic, but to no avail. The department released a police dog into the residence in an attempt to flush Sanders out.

Shortly after that, a deputy sent out a call to dispatch reporting “shots fired” and that the suspect was down.

Durfor could not comment on whether the dog’s injuries (lacerations, a puncture wound and blunt-force trauma around its eye) were caused by Sanders. Durfor also could not comment on Sanders’ mental health or medical history or background.

As for deputies’ compliance with department policies and procedures, Durfor said there are two parallel investigations currently taking place: a criminal investigation, conducted by the Yuba-Sutter Officer-Involved Shooting team – of which the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office will play no part. The second is an administrative investigation conducted by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office to determine if there were any breaches in policy or practice that may arise to some level of discipline. As of Wednesday morning, three deputies were still on administrative leave.

“The very nature of law enforcement on a daily basis is to do everything we can to de-escalate a situation and resolve conflict without using any application of force,” Durfor said.

He said those tactics are part of training curriculum within police academies, and noted that his deputies spent two hours attempting to resolve the situation peacefully.

But for Davis, she believes officers need to be more careful in taking steps to get someone to come out from a barricade.

“It’s definitely not something I ever thought would happen to my little brother,” Davis said. “He didn’t deserve to die.”