Family of man left dead in deputy-involved shooting has many questions

Sheriff's deputies investigate the scene of a deputy-involved shooting in the Valencia Industrial Center on Thursday, Sept. 12. 2019. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The family of a man who died Thursday after being shot by a local sheriff’s deputy have many questions about the shooting, namely why and how the encounter ended up a fatal one.

Alvaro Duran Venegas, 35, who was the father of a young boy and lived in Vacaville doing seasonal farm work, was pronounced dead Thursday, Sept. 12, after an encounter on Rye Canyon Road with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies.

His 5-year-old son is now in the care of his mother.

His older sister Carmen said Wednesday during a telephone call that she has many questions, and is not getting many answers.

On Wednesday, she called her mother to say Alvaro was dead.

“She got in shock when I told her,” Carmen said Wednesday. 

“She has a lot of questions,” she said, adding that she too has “so many questions.”

“I’m still waiting for someone to call me back,” she said, referring to phone numbers given to her, she said, by officials.

Investigators with the LASD’s Internal Affairs unit and the Justice Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office are expected, according to policy and procedure, to investigate all aspects of the shooting. Every fatal, officer-involved shooting results in a lengthy report released sometimes years after a shooting.

The District Attorney’s Office released the results of their investigation into the August 2016 fatal shooting of Castaic resident Bill Bowers in June.

The most immediate concerns, Venegas’ sister said, are finding out what is expected of her in terms of claiming the body.

“I’m flying out there (Los Angeles) on Friday to see what has to be done,” she said.

“I want to know how I can take (the body),” she said. 

Her brother Alvaro worked for a while near Bakersfield, working in the pistachio fields, she said. He lived for a while in Napa and in Yuba City, she said.

“He did seasonal work, a little bit here and a little bit there,” she said.

The deceased man’s wife is in Minnesota and is expected to come to California.

Carmen said she doesn’t know how the family is going to pay for the funeral expenses.

Alvaro Venegas’ identity was released Tuesday by officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

“(His) manner of death is homicide,” coroner spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said Tuesday, noting he died “from gunshot wounds of the torso.”

Homicide detectives still seek witnesses to the deputy-involved shooting.

On Sept. 12, a deputy with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responding to a call about a man “yelling and screaming” radioed for assistance after the man attacked him, taking his radio and taser.

Other deputies responding to the call for help also got into a fight with the man, with one of the deputies suffering a facial injury. 

That deputy fired two shots into the upper torso of the suspect, killing him, sheriff’s investigators said.

Lt. Brandon Dean, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau, said Monday that detectives are still interviewing people who witnessed the shooting.

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