Officers Shoot, Kill Stabbing Suspect
Zachary James Ragan
San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix
October 30, 2010
SACRAMENTO — The suspect in a stabbing Tuesday in Oroville was shot and killed Thursday morning during a confrontation with Sacramento police, who were unaware he was wanted on a $1 million warrant from Butte County, authorities confirmed Friday
Zachary James Ragan, 42, died from gunshots fired by police after a Taser stun gun deployment failed to keep him from charging police with a weapon in his hand, according to the Sacramento Police Department.
Ragan allegedly stabbed Ronald Robert Knight, 43, in the neck Tuesday at a self-storage unit on Lincoln Boulevard in Oroville.
Ragan eluded arrest, and the Butte County Sheriff’s Office issued a nationwide warrant for his arrest.
Wednesday, Sacramento police received a report that a man held a knife to the throat of a 17-year-old boy at the 4700 block of Crest Avenue in North Natomas.
The suspect escaped, but a man matching his description was spotted around 10 a.m. Thursday, walking on Truxel Road in Natomas.
Five police officers confronted the still-unidentified suspect in a field north of the Truxel Road-Terracina Drive intersection, which officer Laura Peck said is about a mile and a half from Wednesday’s attack.
The suspect appeared to be armed with a knife, and told officers he wouldn’t go back to prison and wouldn’t drop his weapon, despite repeated orders to do so, according to a news release.
One officer shot a Taser, but it didn’t stop the suspect. Peck said Friday that Ragan stumbled as a result of the Taser charge, but didn’t fall to the ground. Once he regained the ability to move, he charged officers, still holding the weapon, she said.
Officials stated each of the officers feared for their safety and fired their weapons.
Peck said Sacramento Police were unaware of Butte County’s warrant for Ragan’s arrest at the time of the incident and didn’t learn about it until investigators were going through the identification process.
Peck said it isn’t known whether Ragan was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Toxicology reports are pending.
Investigators confirmed Ragan was the man who threatened the teen at knifepoint Wednesday night.
Butte County deputy Tim Morris said Friday Ragan apparently stole a vehicle after the Oroville incident and drove to Sacramento.
The Oroville Police Department had also issued an arrest warrant in connection with the vehicle theft.
Morris said investigators still didn’t know the motive for the stabbing. Knight, a witness and a close friend were questioned, but none could offer a motive.
“They don’t know why,” Morris said. “He was acting agitated prior to the (stabbing).”
He said Ragan had a criminal record in Butte County, and that tattoos on Ragan’s body indicated he had been affiliated with a white supremacist gang in Sacramento.
Knight is still hospitalized in Chico recovering from the stabbing, but has been released from intensive care. Morris said Knight was notified of Ragan’s death shortly after the Sheriff’s Office learned of the Sacramento shooting.
Peck said the five Sacramento officers involved in the shooting were placed on five-day paid administrative leave as required by the department’s protocol when any officer is involved with a shooting.
The officers’ names were not released, but two had been on duty for one year each, one for four years, one for six years, and one for 28 years.
Sacramento police are investigating the shooting.
As for Butte County, Oroville Police will close the vehicle theft case, and the Sheriff’s Office will conclude its investigation within the week after Morris “ties up loose ends” for Sacramento.
“I’m confident in saying no criminal action will be pursued,” Morris said. “There would be no purpose.”