By MARSHA DORGAN, Register Staff Writer
Former UFC fighter, now Napa County Sheriff Deputy, Jerry Bohlander was found innocent in shooting a Yountville man. The Register Staff Newspaper had the following story in their newspaper this weekend….
“The Napa County District Attorney’s Office has determined that a Napa County Sheriff’s deputy was justified in shooting and killing a Yountville man in December.
“After careful consideration and review of the evidence and witnesses statements, it is the conclusion of this office that deputy sheriff Jeremiah Bohlander was lawfully justified and acted in reasonable self defense in discharging his firearm causing Samuel Rodriguez’s death,”
District Attorney Gary Lieberstein said in a press release.
Bohlander, who has been with the Napa County Sheriff’s Department for about a year, was placed on paid administrative leave following the Dec.19 shooting of Rodriguez, 41. In addition to the district attorney’s
investigation, the sheriff’s department and the major crime task force conducted an internal investigation into the shooting.
“It was determined it was justifiable homicide and deputy Bohlander is back on patrol,” sheriff’s Capt. John Robertson said.
Results from toxicology tests taken at Rodriguez’s autopsy showed he had a level of 1,400 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his blood the night he was shot, Lieberstein said. A laboratory report states
that blood levels of 200 to 600 nanograms have been reported in meth users who have showed violent and irrational behavior.
According to the district attorney’s office, Bohlander responded to a report of man yelling for help at a Yountville mobile home park early on the morning of Dec. 19.
When Bohlander arrived he found Rodriguez dressed in pajama pants, a T-shirt and no shoes. The deputy got out of his car and left it running and unlocked. He asked Rodriguez if he needed any help.
Rodriguez turn and faced Bohlander, at which time the deputy realized Rodriguez was armed with a knife.
Bohlander told him to drop the kitchen knife, which he did. However,seconds later, he picked up the knife after being told to stay away from it, the document stated.
At that point, Rodriguez began to come toward the deputy holding the knife. Bohlander removed his gun from its holster, pointed it at Rodriguez and said he would be forced to shoot him if he did not stop and drop
the knife, investigators said. Rodriguez continued around the patrol car advancing toward the deputy. At one point, he leaned into the vehicle, which was still running and contained weapons that Rodriguez could have used against Bohlander, the report said.
Rodriguez raised the knife and came toward Bohlander. Fearing for his life, Bohlander fired his gun once, striking Rodriguez in the chest.
Rodriguez was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Rodriguez’s family told the Register earlier that Rodriguez was an alcoholic. They said the night he was killed, he was in the bedroom of
his father’s home — which is in the same mobile home park — going through alcohol withdrawal. The family has retained an attorney.
Rodriguez was born in Redwood City and moved to Napa about five years ago. He attended culinary school in Redwood City and worked as a server in several Upvalley restaurants.
“While Mr. Rodriguez’ death was tragic, his actions left deputy Bohlander no other reasonable course of action under all the circumstances,” Lieberstein said. “Therefore, deputy Bohlander’s act of shooting and
killing Samuel Rodriguez was legally justified and he committed no violation or crime in doing so.”