Sonoma caused of death found

December 9, 2008 9:04:36 PM PST
The 37-year-old Sonoma man who was fatally shot by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies Saturday suffered 10 gunshot injuries including a fatal penetrating wound to the head, according to an autopsy today.

Sonoma County coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said the preliminary cause of death was multiple gunshot and shotgun wounds.

Craig Von Dohlen was shot outside his father's residence at 245 Napa Road in Sonoma after his father called 911 around 12:15 p.m. asking for urgent help because his son was on drugs and was threatening to shoot a .22 caliber rifle, according to the sheriff's office.

The father stayed on the line while sheriff's deputies were responding and the phone conversation recorded Von Dohlen saying threatening statements such as "I will shoot them right now. I am not going back to prison. They will have to shoot me," officials said.

Two sheriff's deputies and two Sonoma police officers arrived in the area within about five minutes and were told by the father that Von Dohlen was in the backyard.

As they approached, Von Dohlen started screaming, which was followed by multiple gunshots, officials said.

He was transported to Sonoma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said the majority of injuries to Von Dohlen were to the lower torso, hip and thigh area. Two of the 10 wounds were grazing wounds, Mana said.

"The injuries were consistent with bullets and/or shotgun charges being fired from law enforcement issued pistols and shotguns," Mana said.

Minor scrapes, some in the process of healing, also were found on Von Dohlen's body, Mana said.

No one else was injured.

The four law enforcement employees involved were placed on administrative leave.

The Santa Rosa Police Department is the lead investigative agency in the case.


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