Crime - Sacto 911

He tried to stay alive to testify against the officer who shot his son. He didn’t make it

Ted Rose, the pastor whose schizophrenic son died in his arms when he was shot and killed by a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy called to their home, died late Tuesday at a local care facility, a family attorney said Wednesday.

Rose, who for years had been in poor health, was scheduled to testify Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento at a federal civil trial in the January 2012 shooting of his son, Johnathan Rose, 24, by sheriff’s Deputy David McEntire inside the Rose home. Rose and his family sued the Sheriff’s Department and the deputy, saying the shooting of the unarmed Johnathan was unnecessary and unprovoked. They had called 911 for help because Johnathan was agitated and refused to take his medication.

“He was living for this case,” said family attorney and friend Moseley Collins outside the federal courtroom where the trial began Tuesday. “His heart had stopped on several occasions, but each time he asked that it be restarted. He said, ‘I have to testify to what happened to my son.’ We almost got here – so close.”

Attorneys before U.S. District Court Judge Troy Nunley late Wednesday morning were discussing what statements from Rose’s depositions to present at trial. Rose’s surviving son, Ted Jr., and wife, Karen, are slated to testify today.

McEntire testified for hours Tuesday, saying he shot the young man in a last-resort attempt to ward off a violent physical attack.

Less than a day after his father’s death, it was Rose’s surviving son, Ted Rose Jr., who took the witness stand to recall the day that ended with the death of the brother he called “my best friend.”

“He knew me better than anybody,” Ted Jr. said, his voice breaking, his face flushed. “We both had rough patches in life, but we really enjoyed each other’s company.”

Times had gotten better for Johnathan, too. He was overcoming his fears of people and public spaces, and had grown closer to his father. Both shared an interest in sports. The last year of Johnathan’s life was “especially good,” Ted Jr. testified under questioning from McEntire attorney Van Longyear.

But Johnathan still had “significant challenges he had to deal with,” Longyear said.

Those challenges began to come to a head following Johnathan’s visit to his doctor and information about his mental illness that agitated him.

Ted Jr. recalled bringing Johnathan hamburgers from a nearby McDonald’s that night. Johnathan flung away the meal, then shoved his father, Ted Jr. said.

From a back bedroom, Ted Jr., his mother and father discussed whether to call police. Ted Jr. said Wednesday that he and his mother agreed a mental health call was needed.

“I was worried about everyone that night, John included. We wanted to make sure everybody was OK,” Ted Jr. testified. “We were just worried about everybody’s safety. (Johnathan) came back from the doctor saying he had a mental illness and he seemed quite angry. It escalated.”

His mother was already concerned because of Johnathan’s hard shove of his father, Ted Jr. said.

“Mom said, ‘We need to get him a 5150 call. Maybe that could help him,’” Ted Jr. testified.

The elder Ted Rose made the call from the bedroom that brought McEntire to the scene.

Ted Jr. said he was still eating dinner in the back bedroom when he heard McEntire enter, then the sound of gunfire. Within minutes, Johnathan Rose lay dying.

The time that passed from McEntire’s entrance to his brother’s death “seemed like moments, but felt like seconds,” Ted Jr. said from the stand.

Rose attorney Dale Galipo asked Ted Jr. a final question.

“Was calling the police (meant) to help your brother?”

“Yes, it was,” Ted Jr. answered.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith