Deputies Show Restraint in Arrest of Second, Mentally Ill Man

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 19, 2020

Sheriff’s deputies for the second time within a month, detained a mentally disturbed man who charged at them, subduing the suspect using “less-than-lethal” force in a case that could have resulted in a fatal shooting.

According to a news release, at about 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, deputies responded to a “check the welfare” request at a senior living apartment complex in the 2800 block of Ramada Dr. in rural Paso Robles that involved “erratic behavior” of the grandson of one of the residents, fearing he was in the throes of a mental breakdown.

“When deputies arrived,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla, “the man ran into the apartment and barricaded himself inside armed with a knife. The grandmother had left the apartment shortly before deputies arrived.”
The other residents of the complex were advised to shelter inside their homes and for the next 3 hours, Sheriff’s deputies and mental health workers, tried to negotiate with the man, who Cipolla said was very agitated.

“At one point,” Cipolla said, “he broke the front window of the apartment and began throwing items out of it, including a TV set. Negotiations continued for approximately another hour.”
Cipolla said the suspect suddenly “jumped through the broken window and charged toward a deputy with a knife. Deputies deployed less-lethal beanbag rounds.”

The beanbags hit the man but didn’t stop him. When he again charged deputies with the knife, a highway patrolman on scene used a taser to subdue the man who wasn’t quite finished, as Cipolla said he threw his knife at a deputy but caused no injuries.
The suspect, identified as Jefferey Alan Gomez, 30 of Paso Robles was treated for cuts to his face and body, reportedly caused by jumping through the broken window.

Gomez was treated by paramedics on scene and charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. He was to receive mental health care in Jail.

The incident is the second in just a few weeks where sheriff’s deputies, facing a mentally ill man who charged them, used non-lethal force to subdue the person.

On Oct. 5, Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Cambria man after he threatened to first kill his mother and then to kill law enforcement including a deputy that rode to the hospital with him.

That suspect, identified as Adam Helyar, 36, was reportedly seen throwing items including a wooden chair over an embankment in his backyard and was also reportedly wearing a homemade T-shirt that said, “Cop Killer” on the front.

Helyar reportedly twice charged deputies who shot beanbag rounds at him and again it did not stop him. They were able to wrestle him down and make an arrest without hurting him. Deputies suspected the case was a potential “suicide by cop” scenario.
A search of the residence reportedly found several weapons within easy reach including a pellet pistol that resembled a handgun, two machetes and a knife.

While en route to the hospital, Helyar allegedly threatened to kill the deputy riding along and his family. He was charged with suspicion of “threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize.”

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