‘His death was senseless’: Mother, cousin talk about police shooting of Mikel McIntyre
Less than four hours before a violent confrontation in which Sacramento sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man who was reported choking a woman in Rancho Cordova, deputies had been called to an area home to assess the man’s mental state but decided against detaining him.
Mikel Laney McIntyre, an Uber driver and former Major League Baseball prospect originally from Antioch, had been acting strangely at a relative’s Rosemont home Monday afternoon and his family called authorities for help.
His mother, Brigett McIntyre, and cousin, Dannelle Wilson, told The Bee that they called law enforcement and an ambulance to the house because McIntyre, 32, was acting strangely, stuttering and saying things like, “My family is flying.”
Though he was not acting violently, both Wilson and McIntyre were concerned about his mental state and said that he was stressed over his inability to obtain visitation for his 7-month-year old son, as well as the February death of his aunt and the earlier deaths of his father and grandmother.
“It was just too much for him,” Brigett McIntyre said.
Officers and paramedics came to the home and talked to McIntyre for a few minutes, but ultimately decided against placing him on a psychiatric hold.
“McIntyre was emotional about his grandmother, but did not meet criteria for a 72-hour mental health evaluation,” sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Turnbull said in an email about the incident. “Deputies had no legal right to detain and transport McIntyre since he did not meet the criteria.”
Four hours later, McIntyre was dead, a deputy and K9 were injured and the man’s family and friends are questioning how the incident escalated into such a deadly encounter.
The initial contact with authorities came around 2:30 p.m. Monday. After deputies determined they had no cause to detain McIntyre, they told him to leave the Rosemont home, Turnbull said. McIntyre did, but his mother later called him and they went shopping together at a retail area near Zinfandel Drive and Highway 50.
There, at about 6:45 p.m., authorities received a 911 call reporting that a man was choking a woman in a vehicle in the parking lot of a Ross Dress for Less store.
What happened next is a matter of great dispute between the Sheriff’s Department and McIntyre’s mother, who was the woman people called 911 about.
McIntyre’s mother says that her son was not violent and never touched her.
“He was not choking some woman, he was not doing anything,” Brigett McIntyre said in an interview with The Bee on Tuesday. “He and I were having a disagreement.
“He wanted my keys and I wouldn’t give them to him. He was reaching into my car trying to get my keys. I don’t have any bruises or anything around my neck, nothing.”
Her account differs substantially from the description authorities gave of the confrontation that shut down the busy westbound lanes of Highway 50 until about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Turnbull said multiple witnesses called to report a violent confrontation between a man and woman in the parking lot and that “there were a couple of eyewitnesses that attempted to separate the suspect from his mother.”
“We’d received several 911 calls from people that were observing a violent assault,” Turnbull said. “What her story is at the end, a day later, is what it is.”
The first deputy responding to the scene Monday night arrived within minutes of a 911 call, Turnbull said.
The alleged assailant ran across Olson Drive to the Red Roof Inn. There the man and officer fought in a landscaped area filled with river rocks, he said. The suspect, later identified as McIntyre, picked up one of the rocks and hit the officer in the head, Turnbull said.
The officer remained conscious and fired his gun at McIntyre, who ran down Olson and Zinfandel drives to the freeway ramp and onto westbound Highway 50, Turnbull said, adding that it was unclear whether that shot hit the suspect.
Other officers found McIntyre on the north side of Highway 50 under the Zinfandel overcrossing. Turnbull said McIntyre threw rocks at the deputies, who released a police dog in an effort to take him into custody. McIntyre then hit the dog in the head with another large rock and then began to attack officers, he said.
Two officers opened fire, wounding McIntyre. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Dispatch audio from Broadcastify.com recorded the officers as the final confrontation occurred.
“He’s under the bridge walking westbound …” one officer reports. “Shots fired, suspect still resisting, dog’s on him.”
McIntyre’s mother disputed how the first deputy was hurt, saying a bystander she didn’t know told her afterward that he saw the deputy slip and hit his head on the rocks in a garden area at the Red Roof Inn.
“He was running away, he was running away,” she said of her son.
Turnbull said detectives have several witnesses describing the suspect hitting the deputy with the rock and others who saw the original dispute between McIntyre and his mother.
“We had 20 plus witnesses who observed everything, and all of their statements at this point are consistent,” he said.
Turnbull said the river rocks were the only weapons found at the scene.
The officer who was hit in the head was taken to the hospital and later released with staples in his head to treat the wound. The police dog was being taken in for emergency surgery Tuesday as a result of “being hit in the face/head with a boulder,” Turnbull said in an email. If the surgery is not successful, the K9 will need to be retired.
Two of the officers involved in the incident were Sacramento sheriff’s deputies and the third was a Rancho Cordova officer, who is also a sheriff’s deputy. The Sheriff’s Department contracts with the city of Rancho Cordova to provide police services.
McIntyre’s mother said law enforcement did not speak to her at the scene.
“They never came and asked me anything about him,” she said. “I would have told them he was not a danger to anyone. He never hit me, he never punched me, he never did anything.”
She described her son as having “a mental breakdown” that she was trying to help him with that had been exacerbated by a surgery scheduled for Tuesday for her grandmother.
A man who said he was McIntyre’s closest friend expressed shock that he would have been involved in an incident with law enforcement, and said McIntyre’s mother raised them both like brothers.
“He was a good guy,” said Deondre Jackson, who said he went to Antioch High School with McIntyre. “This is crazy. I didn’t know this stuff happened.
“For them to shoot him like that, to just shoot him, that’s crazy.”
Jackson said he had known McIntyre since boyhood and that his friend graduated from high school in 2003 with offers from baseball teams but that he never played in the major leagues.
Online databases show McIntyre was drafted out of high school by the New York Yankees in 2003 in the 39th round and out of Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 42nd round the following year.
Jackson said his friend was driving for Uber, and state records indicate he had been licensed by the state as a security guard from 2013 through March 2015, when the license was canceled. Records at the state Department of Consumer Affairs reflected no disciplinary actions.
Jackson said his friend had a young boy whose mother was a high school girlfriend and that he last saw McIntyre a month ago, and he was “nice, smiling and talking.”
Other friends expressed their grief on social media and questioned how McIntyre could have ended up in such a situation.
“He wasn’t a troublemaker or a dude in the street or nothing like that,” said Emmett Willis, who said he knew McIntyre for 10 years through various minor league baseball teams. “They’re putting it on thick, making it look like something that didn’t happen.
“He loved his mom. He was a respectable person. He would never put his hands on his mother, he wasn’t raised like that.”
Wills, owner of EBlendz Haircutz in San Francisco, said he had been following media accounts of the incident and could not understand why deputies shot McIntyre.
“It’s like he had a gun, like he had a knife. He had a rock,” Wills said. “You all got Tasers, you’ve got body armor … you’ve got training.
“There was no reason to shoot him.”