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Nevada County Sheriff’s Office releases video of fatal Alta Sierra shooting

On Wednesday, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office released an edited “critical incident video” of the fatal shooting of Ariella Sage Crawford by a sheriff’s deputy on Feb. 4, 2021. The video contains audio of the initial 911 calls and radio traffic between dispatch and deputies, as well as dash-cam footage from the responding deputies’ vehicles.

The officer involved shooting is being investigated by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office, at the request of Sheriff Shannan Moon. Deputies Matthew Harrison and Caleb Toderean have been placed on paid administrative leave and there is no expected date of return, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Trygg said.

The video is 17 minutes long and includes a message from Moon.

The following is an annotation of the video, including portions that The Union has edited for graphic content.

911 calls

During the first 911 call, a woman reports a loose dog, and a woman with two kids, on Gibboney Lane, telling the dispatcher that when she asked the woman if the dog belonged to her, she was “really weird about it.”

According to that first caller, she spotted Crawford three times and she went into someone’s house on the second occasion.

“She’s not well,” the caller said.

The second caller reported Crawford was at her front porch.

“She did not want me to call the cops and she wanted me to take her somewhere safe,” the woman said. “She said ‘They’re hurting my kids,’ and she was really scared and… asked me to take her to Nevada.”

The caller told the dispatch officer someone was following Crawford, but was assured that was simply the first 911 caller checking on her.

Toderean dash-cam footage

Minute 8:38: As the vehicle pulls onto Names Drive, Crawford can be seen walking down the street, holding her two children by the hand. She stops as the audio comes on, and Toderean can be heard telling her she’s not in trouble. Crawford can be seen pulling a knife out and says something partially inaudible, that she knows what he did to babies.

8:56: Toderean replies, “I’m not going to touch your babies but I need you to put your knife away.”

9:03: Crawford tells him not to hurt her babies ad he assures her he is not going to hurt them.

9:13: Crawford begins screaming that “Everyone in the whole world knows. … Everyone knows your face.”

Toderean backs up as Crawford advances toward him, and tells her to hold up. At one point, the older child runs in front of Crawford, yelling stop and putting her hands up in the air.

Crawford continues to scream that “Everyone knows who you are, you can’t hide,” while Toderean tells her, “I just want to help you out.”

9:51: Toderean can be heard asking one of the children to back up, as Harrison can be seen to the right with the Taser. Toderean asks Crawford to put the knife down.

10: “Just talk, just talk to us,” Toderean says.

“I don’t have anything to say,” Crawford responds. “Everyone knows who you are.”

10:10: Crawford is moving back and forth, screams, “Kill me now.” Toderean responds, “I don’t want to kill you.”

10:15: Harrison, off camera, apparently fires the Taser unsuccessfully and then is seen backing away rapidly as Crawford chases him across the street. Shots can be heard and Toderean advances as he shoots – one, and then two groups of two shots.

10:22: The deputies yell at Crawford to let go of knife.

10:30: The children start to run to her but are restrained and taken to a patrol vehicle.

Harrison’s dash-cam footage

Minute 12:15: Crawford is screaming, telling deputies she’s not crazy.

12:23: “You can’t hide from God,” Crawford says. Toderean keeps backing up as Crawford walks toward him.

12:57: Crawford turns toward Harrison as he apparently fires the Taser, then runs toward him around the patrol vehicle as he retreats.

12:59: Toderean fires a first shot as he rounds the side of the vehicle. Crawford runs into view as she chases Harrison and falls as Toderean fires again.

13:04 – Crawford is lying on the ground, as Harrison runs back to her.

13:07 – The deputies can be heard yelling to let go of the knife.

13:45: A local resident can be seen helping to keep the children safe.

14:26: Deputies tell Crawford to put the knife down so they can provide medical help.

14:40 – Crawford drops the knife and deputies begin medical aid.

The Union is currently reviewing the video released by the Sheriff’s Office, and will remove any portions deemed too graphic. The link to the full video provided by the Sheriff’s Office is below.

From a release:

In the interest of providing our community with as much information as possible, Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon ordered the release of a Critical Incident Video detailing a tragic incident that occurred on February 4, 2021, in the community of Alta Sierra.

This Sheriff’s vehicle dash video still shows Crawford running with a knife in her hand after a deputy unsuccessfully deployed his Taser.

The video contains 9-1-1 calls, radio traffic between dispatchers and deputies, and multiple in-car dashboard cameras.

The incident began with 9-1-1 call from a concerned resident after she saw a mother and two young children walking on Alta Sierra Drive. Multiple deputies responded and located 33-year-old Ariella Crawford and her children. She immediately became upset and produced a knife. As the video and audio illustrates, efforts to de-escalate the situation were not successful. Ultimately, she charged at a deputy while holding the knife and a second deputy discharged his service weapon. Ms. Crawford died at the hospital of her injuries.

When we have a critical incident, the goal of the Sheriff’s Office is to be open and transparent. The investigation, led by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office at the request of Sheriff Moon, is still underway.

This Critical Incident Video can be found on the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office YouTube Channel at: https://youtu.be/oq08nS8syUk

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