The woman who was reported to have shot at San Mateo County sheriff's deputies with a shotgun, and who was then fatally shot by deputies herself on May 5 in Half Moon Bay, has been identified as 56-year-old Sandra Lee Harmon. And the sheriff has now released body-cam footage of the incident, which continues to be investigated.
"We take any use of force seriously," says San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos in an introduction to the "critical incident video." "Our goal in releasing these videos while still early in the investigation is to provide our community with as much information as possible when we have a tragic incident such as this."
The video begins with a 911 call recording, and footage of officers questioning a 911 caller who initially reported seeing Harmon walking down the middle of the street in Half Moon Bay carrying what she thought was a rifle in one hand, and a bottle of wine in the other. Harmon called out to the woman, who was pulling weeds outside her building, saying, "Ma'am, I have to caution you. There's going to be a race war tonight." The woman says she stood up, at which point Harmon was already walking away, and saw that she was carrying a long gun at her side, and the wine bottle.
The gun turned out to be a shotgun, as the sheriff's office reports, and a short time later Deputy David Dominguez pulled up to a trailer behind a Pizza Hut at 845 Main Street — in the initial video with the 911 caller a man walks by pointing police to the mobile home, where the caller says a homeless man has been living. As he arrived, Harmon stepped out of the mobile home still carrying the weapon.
According to Deputy Dominguez, who never activated his body camera, Harmon then "leveled her shotgun" toward him and fired after he took cover behind his vehicle. He then fired toward her, causing her to drop the shotgun. At this point another officer arrived on the scene, Deputy John Baba, with his body camera on, and the video shows Harmon flailing and refusing orders to stand still, and the appearing to reach down for the shotgun, at which point "Both deputies Baba and Dominguez then fired their service weapons," according to text accompanying the video.
Harmon can then be seen collapsed on the ground as an officer yells for a second person to come out of the mobile home. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital after life-saving measures were administered.
A third officer also arrived around this time, and his body camera footage is included, showing the incident from a different angle.
As the Chronicle reports, both deputies Baba and Dominguez have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the county DA's office. Baba, who previously worked for another police department, has been with the sheriff's office for about two years, and Dominguez has been a deputy since September 2018, after previously working as a corrections officer and joining the department in 2016.