District Attorney rules Oroville officer-involved shooting justified

POSTED: 3:10 PM Jul 17 2013   UPDATED: 6:02 PM Jul 17 2013
OROVILLE, Calif. -

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled that the officer-involved shooting at Gold Country Casino on July 2 was justified at a press conference in Oroville on Wednesday.

The shooting resulted in the death of Sengaroune Silphanhdeth, 35.

At the press conference, Ramsey showed surveillance video of the entire incident.

In the video it appears that Silphanhdeth was attempting to pick up a gun when he was shot and killed.

Ramsey wrote up a detailed explanation of his decision to rule the shooting justified and describes the incident in detail.

He said that deputies arrived at the casino at 7:03 a.m., after an anonymous male patron of Gold Country Casino said an Asian man wearing a light blue shirt and smoking illegal drugs, threatened him. The patron told deputies that he was "scared for his life".

According to the report, at 7:05 a.m., two deputies found an Asian male passed out inside of a Nissan Frontier pickup truck with the windshield wipers on despite the weather being sunny and dry.

A minute later, one of the deputies attempted to wake the driver at which point he turned off the windshield wipers and looks down to the floorboard of the truck. The driver also begins revving the car's engine.

After getting very little response from the driver, the deputy attempts to physically remove the driver from the vehicle at which point he sees the butt of a large revolver under a small black bag below the driver's feet.

The arrest turned to a struggle and the driver reached for his gun at which point one of the deputies shot him in the chest. After being shot, the driver continued to struggle, forcing deputies to shoot him two more times.

A search of Silphanhdeth's truck revealed that he had a fully loaded .357 revolver as well as $4,500 in cash, an ounce of methamphetamine, some marijuana and a meth pipe.

Deputies also found receipts for parcel posts, which led them to Silphanhdeth's motel room where they found evidence that he had been dealing drugs.

Deputies also followed up on the case with interviews of some men who said they met with Silphanhdeth in his hotel room the night before the shooting. Silphanhdeth allegedly told the men that he was an interstate drug dealer, a "boss" and a "killer."

Silphanhdeth was wanted by federal probation authorities for absconding from his federal parole in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His federal probation report noted that he was a member of an Asian Crip gang.

In Ramsey's release he sent out regarding the investigation, he addressed why he believed the deputies were justified.

"As always, my admiration and thanks also go out to the members of the Butte County Officer Involved Shooting/Critical Incident Protocol team who did their usual full, fair and unbiased investigation," wrote Ramsey.