One veteran officer and one new on the job were involved in a June 5 shooting on Brennan Road in Escalon that resulted in the death of a 39-year-old man.
Escalon officers were asked to respond to the scene in the 18000 block of Brennan about 7:45 p.m. last Wednesday, with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department receiving a report of threats being made and their officers having an extended response time.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Deputy Andrea Lopez said that “less than five minutes” after Escalon officers arrived on the scene, 39-year-old Matthew Freeseha also arrived at the location, driving a pick-up truck. He had made threats, Lopez added, to an ex-girlfriend and her children, threatening to ram his vehicle into the house or set it on fire.
“They had recently broken up and the children were not his,” Lopez said.
Authorities said when Freeseha got out of his truck he had a shotgun and fired it at officers, with two of the officers returning fire.
Medical aid was administered and emergency personnel then transported Freeseha to an area hospital, Lopez said, where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.
Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges said three officers responded and those that fired their weapons were Sgt. Gustavo Flores, a 20-year veteran, and Officer Vincent Quilici, who has been with Escalon for about four months and is working with Flores as his Field Training Officer.
“Anytime this type of thing happens, there is a minimum of three days’ administrative leave,” Borges explained. “It’s also mandated to have the officers do a critical incident debriefing and meet with a psychologist.”
He said the officers have both been cleared to return to duty but the investigation, a multi-agency protocol investigation, is ongoing and includes the sheriff’s department, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office, and the California Department of Justice.
A former Escalon resident, Freeseha had lived in Oakdale for the past couple of years and is survived by, among others, his two children, his parents and a number of siblings.
Authorities did not release details about why Freeseha had initially made the threats against his former girlfriend and her family.