Suspect armed with a home-made gun and throwing chairs is shot by Sonoma deputies

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The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on Friday released graphic video footage detailing the Oct. 15 deputy-involved shooting that occurred on West Napa Street in the city of Sonoma, as well as the names of the officers involved in the incident.

“Whenever we have a critical incident, our goal is to provide our community with as much information as soon as the investigation allows,” Sheriff-elect Eddie Engram says at the beginning of the video.

Engram explains in the video that the incident started when a female called emergency services at about 6:45 p.m. to report a “family disturbance” in the 18000 block of Clayton Avenue in Boyes Hot Springs. Nathan Smart, 43, was threatening to kill the caller and himself, Engram said. Deputies responded and attempted to make contact with Smart, who they thought was in a trailer on the property.

”Deputies were on scene until about 9:40 p.m. but could not find him,“ Engram says in the video.

A Nixel alert about police activity in the area and calling for people to shelter in place went out at 8:30 p.m. while officers were looking for Smart and thought he was inside the trailer, said Sgt. Juan Valencia, a spokesperson with the Sheriff's Office.

Around 10 p.m., police received reports that a man was breaking car windows in the 200 block of West Napa Street. Around the same time, police were notified of a man with a gun who was allegedly throwing chairs at a limousine in the 400 block of First Street West, the west side of Sonoma’s busy downtown Plaza, Engram says.

Sonoma Valley Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Clayton, who has nearly two years of service in Sonoma, in addition to nearly six years with the San Francisco Police Department, was the first to make contact with Smart as he was coming out of the alley between Jak W boutique and Kenwood Investments on West Napa Street.

“Hey, drop it! Drop it! I can’t tell what he has, does he have a gun?” Clayton can be heard saying on the body camera footage shown in the video.

Two shots can then be heard, though the picture is obscured by Clayton’s arm. “It sounded like one shot from him (Smart), and I fired back,” Clayton relays to dispatchers in the footage.

Neither bullet hit anyone, according to authorities.

Smart then ran across Napa Street and into the parking lot shared by the Sonoma Index-Tribune and Compass Realty. The suspect ran around the Compass building, through the alley between the two local businesses, near where Sonoma Police Department Officer Carson Schilling was standing with his gun drawn.

Schilling has nine months of experience with the local law enforcement agency, in addition to nearly three years with the San Francisco Police Department, according to Engram.

As Smart emerged from the alley, he pointed his weapon at Schilling, who fired four rounds back, hitting Smart two or three times in the torso, according to the video.

Smart fell to the ground, thrashing on the pavement as deputies yelled, “Show me your hands!” Once they confirmed the weapon was no longer with Smart, deputies provided medical aid, according to Engram.

Smart was first taken to Sonoma Valley Hospital and then airlifted to a hospital in Sacramento, where he was in critical condition, according to authorities. Police said Smart had fired a homemade gun, fashioned from pipes and black tape.

On Wednesday, Smart was charged with one count each of attempted murder; assaulting a police officer with a gun; possessing a zip gun; being a felon possessing a gun; being a felon possessing ammunition; having a concealed gun; having a loaded gun in public; making threats; cruelty to an elderly or dependent adult; and vandalism. He is expected to enter his plea on Nov. 4 in Sonoma County Superior Court via Zoom.

Because officers with the Sheriff’s Office and Sonoma Police Department both discharged weapons, the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office were tapped to take over the investigation. The sheriff will also conduct his own internal investigation into the shooting, but results could take months.

“The information could change as the independent investigation evolves, however we feel it’s important to show what we know right now,” Engram says at the end of the video.

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