Census worker details encounter prior to fatal police shooting
Check out this news from the Appeal-Democrat about a California woman who was shot to death by police after some sort of incident with a Census Bureau employee:
By Rob Young
The fiance of a woman shot to death by Yuba City police is no longer charged with assaulting a U.S. Census Bureau worker.
The worker, Jeannette Sager, gave her deposition Wednesday in Sutter County Superior Court because she will be unable to attend an Aug. 27 preliminary hearing for the fiance, Lionel Craig Patterson, said Deputy District Attorney Cameron King.
Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin was shot May 20 at her home in the 700 block of Mariner Loop after allegedly pointing a shotgun at police.
Patterson is still charged with assaulting officers with a gun, King said after the hearing.
Sager said Patterson answered the door at Roger-Vasselin’s home, then slammed it, saying “We don’t want any.”
When she rang the bell again, Patterson answered and was more receptive when he realized she was a census worker. But then Roger-Vasselin, smelling strongly of alcohol, appeared behind him and told him not to talk, Sager said.
When Patterson told her it was a census worker, Roger-Vasselin said, “We’re not doing that,” Sager said.
Patterson seemed to become hostile again and said, “Yeah, we’re not doing that,” Sager said. Sager said she apologized for interrupting their evening, explained that it would take only a few minutes to answer the questions, and that she would be sent back later if the answers weren’t provided.
Roger-Vasselin said, “Oh, really,” and pointed a dark-colored gun at her, raising it to near-shoulder level. Patterson took her hand and raised it so the gun was no longer pointing at her, Sager said.
“I was looking at her face. I thought she looked smug,” Sager said.
Sager said she backed away from the door, then ran. As she ran, Patterson yelled, “Do you think you want to come back now?” she said.
“It sounded like he was trying to provoke me in some way,” she said.
Sager said she sat in her car and cried for a couple of minutes before calling her supervisor, then drove to her home a few minutes away. But she decided not to go inside because her mother was there and would be upset by what happened she said.
Instead, Sager said, she drove to the Yuba City Marshalls store, then to Target, but didn’t go inside either store because her supervisors were calling.
A supervisor called police, who had Sager meet two officers at her house. The officers had her look at gun photos on the Internet to try and find one like the one Roger-Vasselin held. They said they were waiting for backup before going to Roger-Vasselin’s house and that Sager might be needed for a “field line-up” if there were an arrest, Sager said.
About 11:30 p.m., two other officers came and said she was needed at the Police Department “because of the way things went down at the house. They didn’t say what,” Sager said.
Patterson’s attorney, Jesse Santana, cross-examined Sager.
Sager told Santana it was still light when she arrived at Roger-Vasselin’s house, although the front porch was dim. She was wearing a U.S. Census Bureau identification card on a lanyard around her neck and was carrying a bag labeled “U.S. Census” in 2-inch letters but wasn’t sure if the label was showing, she said.
Sager said she was told during training to leave a house if told she was trespassing. She said she wasn’t sure Patterson would answer the door a second time if she rang the bell.
When he answered, she said, “I’m not trying to sell you anything. My name is Jeannette and I’m with the Census Bureau.”
Patterson seemed “coherent” and “sober” at first but she wondered if that were really true after he yelled at her as she ran from the house, Sager said.
When Roger-Vasselin came to the door, she appeared to be wearing a dark robe as she stood a few steps behind Patterson, Sager said.
Police said Roger-Vasselin was naked and pointed a shotgun at them when they arrived a couple of hours later.
Sager said she didn’t see where the gun came from that Roger-Vasselin pointed at her.
“That was the first gun I had ever seen in my life. I remember it was very big,” she said.