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Thursday, January 27, 2011

[CA] Placer County Lt. John Savage on trial: "I absolutely did not fire a weapon on that night or that day"


...[Prosecutor Matt] Block wanted to know why [Placer County Sheriff's Lieutenant John Savage] refused to let [officers] search his car or his wife’s. "I said that I was not going to give them consent to search my car," Savage said. "It was infringing on my rights. I did not know what is in my wife’s car and that would infringe on her rights." The prosecutor tried to paint a picture of guilt by Savage refusing to take a Gunshot Residue Test to determine if he had fired a gun. "(The test) is inaccurate," Savage explained...

...All of the neighbors who spoke to News10 asked that they not be identified for fear of retaliation...

Excerpts from 2009 thru yesterday's news:

PLACER SHERIFF'S LT. PROBED IN SHOTS FIRED INCIDENT
KXTV/News10
10/12/2009
[Excerpts] Rocklin police are investigating a report by neighbors that a Placer County sheriff's lieutenant fired multiple shots into the air in front of his home. According to an official police log obtained by News10, a neighbor on Lakebreeze Drive called 911 Thursday at 9:43 p.m. to report hearing five or six gunshots. Another neighbor told News10 she actually witnessed the sheriff's officer shooting into the air. "He took the gun out, pointed it into the air and shot if off," the neighbor said. According to the witness, the lieutenant had come out of the house wearing pajama bottoms and a tank top and immediately went back into the house after the shooting incident, slamming a courtyard gate and the front door behind him. All of the neighbors who spoke to News10 asked that they not be identified for fear of retaliation... A Placer County sheriff's spokesman said his department was aware of the incident but has not taken any immediate action against the lieutenant. "As it stands right now it's just an allegation," Lt. Jeff Ausnow told News10... [Full article here]

PLACER SHERIFF'S LT. IDENTIFIED AS SUSPECT IN SHOTS FIRED INCIDENT
KXTV/News10
Posted: 10/19/2009
[Excerpts] Police investigators have identified Placer County Sheriff's Lt. John Savage as the suspect in an incident involving the negligent discharge of a firearm, a potential felony. Rocklin Police Department spokesman Lt. Terry Roide said the report is being forwarded to the Placer County District Attorney. "Our investigators felt there was enough information to send it to the DA for review"... According to the official police log obtained by News10, a neighbor on Lakebreeze Drive called 911 at 9:43 p.m. on Oct. 8 and reported hearing five or six gunshots. Another neighbor told News10 she actually witnessed the sheriff's officer shooting into the air... Roide said the case was investigated as a violation of penal code section 246.3, which addresses the discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner that could lead to injury or death... Savage is a former dog handler and internal affairs investigator. Neighbors said he is currently assigned to the sheriff's Loomis substation. [Full article here]

PLACER SHERIFF'S LIEUTENANT CHARGED IN SHOTS FIRED CASE
KXTV/News10
Posted: 3/12/2010
[Excerpts] The Placer County district attorney filed a criminal complaint Friday charging Placer County sheriff's Lt. John Savage with discharging a firearm with gross negligence... Savage is being charged under penal code section 246.3, which allows prosecutors discretion to file as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Deputy District Attorney Clark Gehlbach, who signed the complaint, chose to file as a misdemeanor. He declined to say what led to the decision. District attorney spokesman Art Campos said he was aware of criticism about the length of time it took his office to reach a decision... Placer County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Ausnow was notified of the criminal complaint and later issued a written statement to the media. "We are very concerned about the criminal allegation against one of our officers and take the charges very seriously. Lt. John Savage is currently on active duty and is assigned to the main office in Auburn. We are monitoring this case and are running a concurrent personnel investigation, which by law restricts us from making further comments," the statement said. Savage has since moved away from Lakebreeze Drive... "Hopefully, the Placer County Sheriff's Department realizes this man has a problem. Hopefully they get him the help he needs because he's a bit unstable," she said... [Full article here]

TRIAL BEGINS FOR DEPUTY ACCUSED OF FIRING GUN: Lt. John Savage facing $1,000 fine, jail for Rocklin incident
Placer Herald
By Jon Brine
1/25/11
[Excerpts] The criminal trial of a Placer County Sheriff’s officer, Lt. John Savage, accused of firing his weapon outside his Rocklin home in October 2009, began in Roseville Monday. Prosecutor Matt Block said the incident all began when motion lights were activated on the defendant’s Lakebreeze Drive home in Rocklin. He said a witness, named [DW], would describe how she saw Savage run to his car pull a gun and fire it into the air. Savage is accused of gross negligence in discharging his firearm. In his opening statement, Defense attorney Tim Balcom described the trial as a case of mistaken identity that was botched by the Rocklin Police Department who failed to follow all leads... Balcom told jurors the only witness who allegedly saw Savage fire his weapon in the air had an axe to grind. [DW] is good friends with Savage’s landlord, who after the incident evicted him, and her brother worked for Rocklin Police, according to Balcom... Balcom described some of the doubt in the case... The prosecution brought three witnesses to the stand, neighbors of Savages, who all said between three to five shots came from the direction of Savage’s house. Today more witnesses will testify including Savage who will take the stand in his own defense... Savage is facing a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Savage is currently a watch commander for Placer County Sheriff’s Office working in Auburn. Day two of the trial begins today at 9 a.m. in Dept. 32 of Placer County Superior Court... [Full article here]

DEPUTY TAKES STAND IN GUNFIRE CASE
Placer Herald
By Jon Brines
1/26/11
[Excerpts] A Placer County Sheriff’s lieutenant on trial for allegedly shooting a gun in his Rocklin neighborhood in a 2009 incident took the stand in his own defense Wednesday. For about an hour, Lt. John Savage explained what happened from his point of view on that Oct. 8 night outside his then Lakebreeze Drive home. At one point he turned to the jury, looked at them and said, "I absolutely did not fire a weapon on that night or that day"... Savage is accused of discharging a firearm, which could carry a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail, if convicted. Savage told the jury he had just got off work and was in his bedroom when he and his wife heard gunshots outside their house... Savage then explained how he saw his wife try to call 911 while he walked out of his front door to retrieve his duty weapon from the back seat of his unmarked patrol car... Rocklin officers then arrived to investigate the shots fired report. After they made contact with Savage, he was searched and told he was going to be put in the back of their patrol car. Savage refused... Savage sat on the curb until officers searched his house and found two guns that were not fired and two magazines for a third gun that was not present, according to the Rocklin Police Department... The only witness in the case, [DW], daughter of [JW] and [LW], testified that she saw Savage firing what appeared to be a gun and said Savage put an "object" back in the car and picked up pieces of something off of the ground. [Prosecutor Matt] Block asked him why he had bullet magazines for a gun he did not have at the house. "They were for a gun up in my office," Savage said. Block then tried to point out to the jury that the actual weapon allegedly used in this crime was inside his car where he refused to let officers go. "They would have found a .380 (gun)," Block said. Savage denied it. "No they would not," Savage said. Block wanted to know why he refused to let them search his car or his wife’s. "I said that I was not going to give them consent to search my car," Savage said. "It was infringing on my rights. I did not know what is in my wife’s car and that would infringe on her rights." The prosecutor tried to paint a picture of guilt by Savage refusing to take a Gunshot Residue Test to determine if he had fired a gun. "(The test) is inaccurate," Savage explained. "I told them I would not voluntarily take one. I was being cooperative. I was courteous, but cautious because I was concerned for my rights." Block wanted to know why Savage did not investigate the shots fired if he knew he was the only law enforcement officer on the scene right after the shooting. Savage said it was not proper for him to investigate it and that he was more in the role as a witness... [Full article here]
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