Late last week the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released new details on the Jan. 14 officer involved shooting, that reveal the suspect involved, 21-year-old Antonio Ramirez Frati, was suffering from depression, which prompted him to attempt suicide by asking Rohnert Park Public Safety officers to shoot him. During the armed standoff, RP officers tried to calm the situation, however, Frati became increasingly agitated and would not surrender his weapon, causing an officer in fear of his life to fire a non-fatal shot as the suspect made advances towards the responding officers.
Frati had gone to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety station near the Rohnert Park Library in the City Center with a loaded .22 caliber, semi-automatic pistol and had fired several shots in front of the main entrance to the public safety building in an attempt to get officers to shoot him, according to sheriff’s office report.
Sergeant Kelly Koffler was inside the building when he and his fellow officers heard the gunshots, whereupon he went outside to inspect the area and saw Frati holding the handgun and immediately called for backup.
As stated in the report, “Sergeant Koffler engaged Frati in conversation, ordering him multiple times to drop his handgun. Frati refused to do so every time and repeatedly told Koffler to shoot him. Many officers responded to the scene and took up various positions. An officer responded to the scene with a less than lethal option, which was made available during the incident.”
During the hour long confrontation, Frati’s mother told RP dispatchers that her son had been suffering from depression.
A crisis negotiator was called to the scene and while waiting for the negotiator, Koffler attempted to have Frati calmly surrender his handgun, yet the suspect reportedly became continually frustrated that the officers were refusing to shoot him. He had even reportedly asked officers what he had to do in order to get shot.
According to the sheriff’s report, attempts at negotiating with the man were unsuccessful and as he started to advance towards officers with the gun still in hand — and out of fear for his life, Koffler and four other officers fired their guns, striking Frati three times.
“Sergeant Koffler attempted to come to a peaceful resolution but Frati kept walking towards him, closing a distance of about 20 yards,” the report read. “As Frati got within 15 yards Koffler became fearful that his life was in jeopardy.”
Frati received medical attention from Koffler and the other officers after determining that it was safe to do and staged an ambulance to take the Rohnert Park man to the hospital.
Sergeant Spencer Crum of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said that Frati is expected to be OK and is to recover from his wounds.
During the investigation following the incident, interviews with the shooter’s friends and family confirmed that he was struggling with depression, however, it is still unclear why he attempted suicide in the manner that he did.
The report of the new details was published on Nixle and several community members expressed praise towards the officers who tried to peacefully de-escalate the situation.
Physiologist JoAnne MacTaggart wrote in the comments section of the Nixle post on the report, “I’m very pleased to read this account – brave, humane and effective way to handle a critical incident with a suicidal citizen, considering other ways it could have gone down.”
According to statistics from the California Department of Mental Health Office of Suicide Prevention, in 2009 there were 63 suicide related deaths in Sonoma County, 12.8 per a population of 100,000. The most suicide deaths in the county occurred amongst people between the ages of 45 and 64.
Non-profits in the area that maintain a free, 24-hour suicide hotline include, the North Bay Suicide Prevention (855-587-6373) and the Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit (800-746-8181). Or if you know someone in immediate need of help, call 9-1-1.