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Sacramento mayor pays for burial of man killed by city police

Police: Man with knives 'verbally challenged' officers before they shot

Sacramento Police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein says a man who had fled from a police vehicle in South Sacramento and was chased by officers reappeared with two knives and "verbally challenged" the officers before they fired. The man was killed, and the off
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Sacramento Police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein says a man who had fled from a police vehicle in South Sacramento and was chased by officers reappeared with two knives and "verbally challenged" the officers before they fired. The man was killed, and the off

Mayor Kevin Johnson helped a south Sacramento mother pay the funeral costs for her son, who was killed by police in April.

Dazion Flenaugh, 40, was shot and killed by Sacramento police about 8:30 a.m. April 8 in the Parkway neighborhood.

Police said Flenaugh charged at officers with knives before he was fatally wounded, but community groups, including Black Lives Matter, have raised questions about the case.

Flenaugh’s mother, Cristina Robbins, said she was unable to afford a funeral for Flenaugh until the mayor stepped in “out of the blue” and provided $2,000 through his Sacramento Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit that is largely funded by corporate and individual donations.

“It’s been horrible,” said Robbins. “He was killed in April and here it is July, and I am just barely managing to get him put to rest.”

Robbins said community members had reached out to the mayor’s office on her behalf, and she had spoken personally to the mayor about burial costs.

“It’s hard to imagine not being able to afford to bury your own child,” said Crystal Strait, the mayor’s spokesperson. “And as a community, it’s hard to imagine you couldn’t find the resources to bury one of your neighbors regardless of what they were involved in. It’s just a point of dignity and humanity.”

A spokesman for the Sacramento Police Officers Association declined to comment on the mayor’s donation.

Flenaugh was detained by police on the day of the shooting after they responded to a call regarding a “suspicious subject walking door to door, peering into the windows of the homes in the area and jumping fences,” according to a police news release at the time.

Flenaugh matched the description and was put in the back of a police car, where police say he began kicking and trying to pull the cage bars off the window. When they opened the car door, he fled, police said.

During an ensuing foot pursuit, Flenuagh broke into a house and armed himself with two knives before fleeing again, police said. Officers found him hiding in a nearby driveway.

Flenuagh, who had a record of misdemeanor charges, disregarded the officers’ orders to drop the weapons and instead “charged at them with both knives in hand” before being shot multiple times, according to the police news release.

Robbins said her son was “harmless” and “humble.” She said he was homeless and may have had bipolar disorder.

Flenaugh came to his mother’s Parkway area house the night before the shooting to sleep, she said. Robbins made him a bed in the garage and they ate burritos for dinner. When she awoke the next morning, Flenaugh was gone, but his belongings remained.

A Bible he liked to read was sitting on a chair on the porch, and Robbins said she thought he may have stepped out to buy cigarettes.

“I was convinced he was coming right back because his phone was on the charger, his backpack and wallet in the garage,” she said. “But he never came back. Next thing I hear it’s a knock at the door; it’s the coroner.”

Flenaugh said she has not received details of the case from police.

A police spokesperson said autopsy and police reports were not available.

“The only thing I know for sure that is a fact is that he is dead,” said Robbins. He “was just a normal human being down on his luck ... but he loved his family. His family loved him.”

Flenaugh will be buried Saturday at Sacramento Memorial Lawn on Stockton Boulevard.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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