Napa Man Shot By Police Reached For Knife, Authorities Say
NAPA (BCN) — Two Napa police officers shot Richard Steven Poccia with a Taser and rifle outside his home on Sunday after he withdrew a knife from his waistband, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office said late Wednesday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office, which is investigating the fatal shooting, said Poccia, 60, died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Final autopsy results are pending toxicology tests, sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said.
The incident began when Napa police received information from a friend of Poccia’s family at 9 a.m. Sunday that Poccia was suicidal, Stuart said.
The friend said not to send police to Poccia’s home at 1405 Meek Ave. because Poccia’s wife was safe and had left the residence.
The friend also said others would be checking on Poccia and that if police were called to the Poccia residence later, they should use caution because there were firearms in Poccia’s home, Stuart said.
After another friend of the Poccia family made contact with Poccia a short time later, Napa police were told Poccia was proficient in martial arts and edged weapon fighting.
The friend said Poccia was armed inside the residence and claimed to have fired a shot through his bedroom wall, Stuart said.
The friend said he encouraged Poccia to seek help, but Poccia said any attempt to help by police or emergency medical responders would end badly, according to the sheriff’s office’s account of the incident.
Police asked Napa County Mental Health services to call Poccia, but Poccia did not answer the phone, according to the sheriff’s office.
Police learned around 2:20 p.m. that Poccia was planning to leave his house to purchase alcohol, Stuart said.
Napa police went to the residence because of Poccia’s suicidal state and his possession of firearms, Stuart said.
Around 3 p.m., police made telephone contact with Poccia and asked him to come outside to speak to them, Stuart said.
Poccia initially complied and walked toward officers with his hands in the air, Stuart said.
After speaking with the officers for a brief time, Poccia’s demeanor changed, and he reached in his waistband and withdrew a knife, Stuart said.
The officers believed their lives were in danger, and Officer Nick Dalessi fired a .223-caliber rifle at the same time Officer Brad Baker shot Poccia with a Taser, Stuart said. Poccia died at the scene.
Dalessi has been a Napa police officer since January 2006. Baker has been a police officer since 1999 and has been with the Napa Police Department since August 2001, Stuart said. Both men are on paid administrative leave.
Stuart said the sheriff’s office interviewed many citizens and officers about the incident, and the shooting investigation is continuing.
She said the Napa County District Attorney’s Office will review the final report on the shooting.
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