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2022 July 29 - David Pelaez-Chavez

Published: November 07, 2023

On July 29, 2022, thirty-six-year-old David Pelaez-Chavez was shot with a firearm by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Dietrick. Mr. Pelaez-Chavez died as a result of those gunshot wounds.

Following Mr. Pelaez-Chavez’s death, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department invoked the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Employee-Involved Fatal Incident Protocol (“protocol”). The purpose of this protocol is to set forth procedures and guidelines to be used by Sonoma County law enforcement agencies in the criminal investigation of specifically defined incidents involving law enforcement employees. Under this protocol an outside law enforcement agency is designated to investigate officer-involved fatalities.1

In this case, members of the Santa Rosa Police Department assumed responsibility for the investigation of Mr. Pelaez-Chavez’s death. Members of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office participated in the investigation in a supporting role, in accordance with the protocol. Under the protocol the role of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office is to review the investigation to determine if there exists any criminal liability on the part of involved parties including the law enforcement employees, to provide assistance to the investigating agency regarding legal issues, to supplement the investigation when necessary, and, when appropriate, prosecute those persons believed to have violated the law.

Once the investigation is complete the District Attorney is required by the protocol to complete a thorough review of the investigation and prepare a report summarizing the investigation and documenting her conclusions. A copy of this report is to be submitted to the foreperson of the Sonoma County Grand Jury.

This report includes a summary of facts surrounding the death of David Pelaez-Chavez, a statement of the applicable law, legal analysis and conclusions, as well as a copy of the autopsy report. This report does not and cannot include all of the information contained in the reports and digital media reviewed in its preparation. However, every effort has been made to include in this report a summary of all of the relevant, material evidence gathered by the involved agency and the investigating agencies over the course of its extensive investigation of this death.