Alvaro Duran Venegas: Killed By Santa Clarita Sheriffs in 2019
September 6, 2021 ~ By Shari Rose
Venegas was an unarmed farmworker having a mental health emergency when a deputy shot him to death
On September 12, 2019, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received a call about a Latino man walking on the side of Rye Canyon Road and yelling to himself. A deputy responded to the call and found Alvaro Duran Venegas walking by himself and experiencing a mental health emergency.
The deputy alleges that Venegas managed to take his radio and taser when approached by police and radioed for backup. More deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station soon appeared on the scene to confront Venegas.
During some sort of scuffle (police continue to withhold details), a deputy shot Venegas multiple times in the chest. The 35-year-old farmworker died at the scene. He left behind a young son.
Sheriffs Fail To Notify Mental Health Teams To Prevent Deadly Force
In 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created a special group of mental health professionals, called the Mental Evaluation Team, who are mandated to respond to calls with mental health patients alongside deputies to reduce police shootings. However, none were present when police killed Venegas.
As of the publishing of this article, the identities of the deputies involved in Venegas’ death remain a secret. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has still not released a public report into his death, which is something they are legally required to do when a person dies in police custody.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was not involved in the shooting, publicly stated that one of the deputies responding to the call received a “facial injury” when confronting Venegas.
Venegas’ Family Speaks Out
Alvaro Duran Venegas lived in Bakersfield and Napa working pistachio fields before moving to Vacaville and ending up in the Santa Clarita Valley. In 2012, Venegas was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He married a woman named Mireya Segura the same year, and they had a son together.
The couple divorced in 2018, and Venegas’ paranoia steadily worsened. Segura says she moved to Minnesota with their son after the divorce. She learned of her ex-husband’s death from another family member.
In April 2019, Venegas grew increasingly worried that cameras were in his room and that people were always watching him. Segura says that Venegas spent a week in a mental health facility a few months before he was killed.
This story about Alvaro Duran Venegas is part of a larger project that looks at recent police shootings of Latinos in Los Angeles.
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