Sheriff’s deputies shoot man driving tractor towards them Sunday evening

On Sunday, November 8th, 2020, at approximately 4:25 pm, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office began receiving multiple calls reporting a male in the middle of roadway with a 2 x 4 not allowing vehicles to pass in the 1700 block of N Gratton Rd in the community of Denair.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, they were unable to make contact with the subject, however, they communicated with his wife and a decision was made for the couple to seek mental health treatment later in the week. Given no crimes were committed, and the man was no longer creating an issue out in the roadway, deputies cleared from the scene.

At approximately 5:40 pm, a second call was received to deal with the same subject as his behavior was becoming more erratic and dangerous. The second call was believed to have been made by the subject’s wife.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene the second time, they encountered the subject, who was identified as Seo Myong Yang, 79, of Denair, driving a Bobcat tractor in an unsafe manner. Deputies tried to engage him in conversation and negotiation, but he refused to cooperate or comply with the instructions they were giving. Deputies even utilized a tactical retreat as means of avoiding further violent altercation.

At one point during the encounter, Yang recklessly crashed the tractor through a fence, coming onto the roadway with the loading forks of the tractor being displayed at deputies and citizens in the area. Yang then drove towards the deputies and citizens in a reckless manner with disregard to public safety.

Deputies fired their service weapons multiple times at Yang, striking him, to stop the imminent threat of great bodily injury or death. Deputies began rendering medical aid and called for an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived on scene, Yang was loaded onto it and transported to a local hospital for treatment. Yang is currently still hospitalized receiving treatment and will be booked into jail once medical clearance is received.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office’s Crimes Against Persons unit as well as the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office responded to investigate and determine whether or not the deputies actions were legally justified. Additionally, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office’s Internal Affairs unit also responded to determine whether or not the deputies actions were in line with departmental policy.

The deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations, which is standard protocol for deputy involved shootings. Their names are currently not being released.

Anyone with information regarding this shooting is encouraged to contact Detective Stephen Sulkowski at 209-525-7032.

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