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Sheriff Vasquez Details Recent Groveland Deputy Involved Shooting

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County Sheriff David Vasquez provided a detailed recap about what led to the deputy-involved shooting that killed 42-year-old suspect Shawn Karr of Coulterville.

We reported earlier that it happened late in the evening on Tuesday, February 27, in the area of Merrell Road and Harper Road.

At today’s board of supervisors meeting, Sheriff Vasquez stressed that it is still an ongoing investigation, but provided several new pieces of information.

He said Deputy Alex Zanini was patrolling the Groveland area and conducting security checks at local schools and other areas around critical infrastructure. He spotted a vehicle traveling near Merrell Road with multiple vehicle code violations. He pulled it over and two men were inside.  It was determined that the driver was not allowed to be operating a vehicle. Deputy Zanini also spotted narcotics paraphernalia and began a formal investigation. The driver was detained, and the passenger then “exchanged words” with Deputy Zanini and took off running.

Sheriff Vasquez says Deputy Zanini then caught the suspect (Shawn Karr), adding, “A short foot pursuit led to a physical encounter where Deputy Alex Zanini was trying to subdue the individual. During that brief, we’ll call it a ‘wrestling match’ for lack of better terms, the individual then produced a handgun and made a statement.”

In regards to what was said by Karr, Sheriff Vasquez notes, “It was something to the effect of, ‘You’re going to kill me, or I am going to kill you.’”

Sheriff Vasquez continued, “Deputy Alex Zanini pinned the gun (of the suspect) and the arm down to the ground and was attempting to subdue the individual.  He could feel the force under that individual’s arm, essentially trying to take his life. In response to the subject’s actions, he (Deputy Zanini) drew his service pistol, and discharged multiple times, striking the individual.”

Karr died from injuries sustained and Deputy Zanini called for backup and medical personnel.

Sheriff Vasquez noted that the full body camera surveillance footage of the incident will be released later. He also added that limited resources in the Groveland area led to only one deputy being there, as others were in the process of responding. He said the sheriff’s office is strategically looking at the best way to disperse resources.

Vasquez concluded, “My sincerest gratitude goes to Deputy Alex Zanini and his family for the ongoing sacrifice, and all of our deputy sheriffs and support staff, that show up every day, because this is a reality, every day.”