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Waiting for answers: Community rallies in memory of woman killed in officer-involved shooting

By Liz Kellar | Staff Writer
Sage Crawford, 33, was fatally shot by a Nevada County sheriff's deputy during a confrontation last week in Alta Sierra. A vigil was held Wednesday in Crawford’s honor.

“She was a mother. She was a daughter. She was a sister.”

And whatever transpired between Sage Crawford and law enforcement, she “did not deserve to be gunned down in front of her children,” said family spokeswoman Leia Schenk.

Schenk spoke to a crowd of about 50 gathered Wednesday afternoon at the site of Crawford’s fatal shooting in Alta Sierra, during a vigil organized to honor her memory.

Crawford, 33, was fatally shot by a Nevada County sheriff’s deputy during a confrontation on Feb. 4. The incident is being investigated by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office. Dash-cam footage has not yet been made available.

“The loss of human life is tragic,” said Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh, who didn’t attend the memorial, in a prepared statement. “Regardless of whether the shooting is justified or not, the emotional trauma is worsened in a situation where a young woman is shot and killed in front of her children. The District Attorney’s Office is taking this investigation seriously. We are committed to a careful and transparent review of all the evidence.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Walsh said his office has been diligently conducting interviews related to this incident and is gathering background information. Critical evidence was collected at the scene and an autopsy was conducted last week.

“We are working to have the dash camera footage from the two patrol vehicles released to the public,” Walsh said. “We expect this to be finished early next week and want to release this to the public as soon as it is complete.”

According to Walsh, the footage captured the majority of the incident between Crawford and law enforcement and will be relevant toward establishing what took place.

“We ask for the public to be patient and wait for the evidence to be released before making any conclusions about what happened,” he said.

But during Wednesday’s vigil, Schenk questioned the delay in releasing the footage, and asked why the deputies were not issued body-worn cameras. She said Crawford’s family wants to be able to review the raw footage, and has not received any information regarding the coroner’s report.

“They had no regard for the children, they had no regard for her family. They have given them no answers,” she said.

While Crawford’s mother and sister were at the vigil, they chose to have Schenk speak for them.

“The family, in their grief, they have to get to a place of closure,” Schenk said, adding, “What happened to Sage could happen to anybody.”

According to law enforcement, on the afternoon of Feb. 4 Crawford was reported to have been acting erratically while armed with a knife.

Shortly after 1 p.m. that day, the Nevada County Regional Dispatch Center received several calls of a woman who was possibly under the influence, walking in the middle of Alta Sierra Drive with two small children. Deputies Caleb Toderean and Matthew Harrison responded to the area near Names Drive and made contact with Crawford.

According to Walsh, the deputies tried to calm her with no success. During the incident, one deputy tried to deploy a Taser at some point and the other fired his service weapon, Walsh said. Both deputies are currently on paid administrative leave.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

Leia Schenk, founder of the Empact Facebook page, provides a statement at the scene were 33-year-old Sage Crawford was fatally shot. Crawford’s sister and mother stand behind her.
Photo: Elias Funez


Members of the Alta Sierra community place flowers, photos, and well wishes at the site. The Nevada County District Attorney’s Office said it will soon release video of the incident.
Photo: Elias Funez


About 50 people attended Wednesday’s vigil held in honor of Sage Crawford.
Photo: Elias Funez


Notes to Sage Crawford are placed at the memorial site.
Photo: Elias Funez


Leia Schenk, founder of Empact, provides a statement for members of the media while standing in front of Sage Crawford’s mother and sister at a vigil for Crawford.
Photo: Elias Funez


Members of the community place items at a memorial for 33-year-old Sage Crawford. Alta Sierra community members have said they want a town hall meeting to have their questions answered.
Photo: Elias Funez


Members of the community place flowers and well wishes at the roadside memorial which has materialized for Sage Crawford, near the intersection of Alta Sierra and Names drives Wednesday.
Photo: Elias Funez


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