Grandma With Gun Fatally Shot By Police
May 24, 2010
YUBA CITY, Calif.—The son of a grandmother fatally shot by Yuba City police says his mother was likely startled when a census worker and officers showed up after dusk.
Police said they were called at 9:04 p.m. Thursday after a census worker reported a man with a gun answered the door of a Yuba City home. The census worker reported residents of the home pointed a firearm at her, said they would not answer any questions, then closed the door, said police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey.
Officers arrived and arrested 51-year-old Lionel Craig Patterson at about 10:20 p.m. on suspicion of assault with a firearm on a peace officer.
During the arrest, Victoria Roger-Vasselin, 67, approached officers from the house carrying a shotgun, Pavey said. Roger-Vasselin was shot multiple times, dying at the scene.
Her son, Christian Biscotti, said Friday his mother was likely frightened by the late visits to the upscale home she shared with Patterson.
“I think she was just startled,” he told the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.
“In these times, people are fearful and afraid,” he told KCRA-TV.
“Does this look like someone that is going to kill you at your front door?” Biscotti asked a television reporter, pointing to a photo of his mother smiling and holding a small dog.
She was the sister of a former Yuba County judge and district attorney, Thomas E. Mathews, who died in 2005.
There were conflicting accounts of when the census worker knocked on the door.
The Sutter County District Attorney’s Office said she went to the house between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Yuba City police said the visit was between 7:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
A U.S. Census Bureau spokesman, Sonny Le, said the census worker went to the home at 7:45 p.m., about 25 minutes before sunset. Workers aren’t supposed to visit after dark. Le said the worker returned to her car, reported the incident to her supervisor, and it took until after 9 p.m. for police to be notified by census officials.
A neighbor, Bob Dhaliwal, said he was in bed when he heard shouting and shooting after police arrived.
Pavey said both officers were in uniform. The police report said Roger-Vasselin approached the door with a shotgun, refused orders to put it down, and pointed the gun at the officers in a threatening manner before she was killed.