News

Autopsy: Man killed in Pleasanton police shooting had no drugs in system

County coroner's report also confirms 19-year-old was shot in face, abdomen

An Alameda County coroner's autopsy report of John Deming Jr. shows the 19-year-old did not have drugs in his system when he was shot and killed by a Pleasanton police officer in July.

An autopsy and toxicology report completed by the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau confirmed Deming died from bullet wounds to his face and abdomen, and he did not have any alcohol or drugs in his body when he died, including bath salts or synthetic marijuana. The autopsy was obtained by the Pleasanton Weekly on Thursday, after the coroner's case was closed on Dec. 30.

Deming was shot and killed by Pleasanton Police officer Daniel Kunkel in the early morning of July 5, after Deming allegedly charged the officer, who was responding to a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics car dealership at 4321 First St., Pleasanton.

The county District Attorney launched an investigation into the death in July and it is still ongoing, according to DA spokeswoman Teresa Drenick. Drenick said she cannot comment on the autopsy until the full investigation is complete.

"We investigate each case individually and thoroughly, and the investigation is completed in a timely manner but also within a timeframe that allows us to do the thorough investigation that is needed," she said.

In the autopsy, a coroner's bureau detective stated Deming's cause of death is deemed a "homicide." That designation is standard procedure for any shootings, said use-of-force expert Tim Williams, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer who serves as an expert witness in police shooting cases.

"Just because it's called a homicide doesn't mean someone will be charged with a homicide," he said.

In addition to the two gunshot wounds, the autopsy noted Deming sustained several bruises and cuts to his face, legs and arms, as well as a puncture wound to the back and a one-inch round torn bruise "with considerable hemorrhage" on his right thigh. The report did not state what might have caused those injuries.

Multiple attempts to reach the forensic pathologist who completed the autopsy were unsuccessful. Coroner's Bureau and Sheriff's Office personnel declined to comment on the autopsy or the cause of the injuries.

The fatal shooting on July 5 occurred after officers responded to a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics, a Pleasanton car dealership. When officers arrived just after 2 a.m, Deming allegedly threw a car jack through a window at them. According to police statements immediately after the incident, Deming did not respond to officers' demands to cooperate, and police fired beanbag rounds, sent a police dog after Deming and shot Taser rounds at him.

Deming then ran out through the back of the dealership, where he encountered Kunkel, according to police. Pleasanton police said Kunkel fired a Taser round at Deming, and Deming charged at the officer, knocking him to the ground. Kunkel then shot Deming twice, and Deming later died at Eden Medical Center.

The Deming family has retained Los Angeles-based law firm Geragos & Geragos to represent it in a possible civil suit against the city of Pleasanton. Kunkel continues on paid administrative leave from the Pleasanton Police Department.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

How many millions is this going to cost Pleasanton? Like every other weak city, I'm sure they will just settle out of court for millions, instead of fighting it until the end. Call me old fashioned, but if the kid had been home sleeping at 2:00am like most people (not working at that hour), this wouldn't have happened. This stuff gets old.


7 people like this
Posted by Danville mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

Have you no compassion "resident of San Ramon"! Why do you say Pleasanton is a weak city? Something clearly was wrong with this young man. Now his family has to live without him. He'll never grow up. He caused it, but why? Very harsh words from you. Sounds like your mom didn't teach you if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!!


10 people like this
Posted by amateur esq.
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:49 am

@ resident: last time I checked, breaking-and-entering was not a capital offense.


4 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

So your son engages in intentional substantial criminal action....or else does violently crazy action.....and then you blame the police for shooting and seek millions of dollars from your city.

Yes, Pleasanton will be a "weak" city if it settles for this extortion.

Being on drugs might have helped explain "why", but now it is still unknown at this point.
The fact that the man was NOT on drugs is informative, but irrelevant. He still acted criminally and violently.

Unless the parents believe that the police sent a letter to their son encouraging him to go break into the Car Dealership and telling him they'd show up to help him make off with the loot, I don't see why they are inflicting this lawsuit upon Pleasanton. Do they really believe that the PPD wants to kill people and go around looking for people to kill?
Sounds like they're taking a page from some Oakland parents we've heard of who gain lots of money from the deaths of their kids who they trained to disrespect the police and to push the limits of behavior.

Where are your kids at 2 AM? By age 19, your parenting choices were already made.


5 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 2:06 pm

the family should write a check to pay for all the medical bills, damages at car dealership, insurance premium increase, officer's paid leave (and medical treatment if any) instead. it's a great thing that a violent, undeserving soul who attacked 3 officers at 2am at a location he burglarized disappeared from this planet, likely saved the world more headache down the road - imagine what he would do w/ a weapon, w/ high on drugs, or with more experiences, if he was already acting like this w/o weapon, w/o drugs at 19.
bad behaviors should not be rewarded, period.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

@ Danville Mom ---- thank you for the concern about what I learned from my mom. She did teach me many fine lessons in life, one of which you mentioned. She also taught me to be home at 2:00am, and more importantly, not to break into other peoples property, and even MORE important, to respect and not fight with the police. I'm assuming the kid had mental issues to do what he did and that is sad (see I do have some compassion), BUT that doesn't make it right for the parents to sue for millions. And mark my words right here, I am certain Pleasanton will just pay the money to be done with it. It probably some insurance companies money anyway (will be their attitude). Again, thank you for your concern about what I learned from my mom.

@ amateur esq. --- I am not an expert in the law as you may be, but I think I remember from as early as the 3rd grade that fighting with cops may get you in big trouble and in some cases even get you killed. So, while breaking and entering in itself may not get you killed, fighting with police might.


4 people like this
Posted by it takes a village
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 22, 2016 at 12:51 am

Because I didn't know how this works, I inadvertently hit the like button on the very first comment, maybe others did too so without me, only 8 people liked the first comment.
I think in our society today, of technology and what kids get exposed to,(I watched gilligans island, my favorite martian and bonanza etc. cartoons like the road runner being the most violent exposure growing up, not the violent games kids are exposed to) whether from their piers if the parents in their homes do not allow this kind of stuff, combined with parents overcompensating with stuff rather than quality time with their children as the costs in this area to live make for most families force 2 parents to work maybe with long commutes as well. They do this so their kids can be in better schools, maybe better piers, who knows the reason. My mom took me to the YMCA every Friday to swim or play badminton and I had one doll and made things, played outside, walked to school and trust me we had pedophiles in that era too, it wasn't less dangerous, nowadays we educate our kids.
Point being, I think life is tougher for all, and as a community we should have compassion, maybe volunteer as a mentor, seek out troubled youth and families and offer help. This kid probably did not have what his piers had, maybe had self esteem problems or other issues. For sure he did not have help to guide him to better ways. Stealing though, should not be a reason to kill anyone. There appeared to be enough officers at the site to have been able to chase him down. If this kid had any weapon it would have been used up front so that wouldn't have been an issue. If we let this be the method our police force is allowed to use for this type of crime then heaven help us if we are caught in the cross fire, an innocent bystander, say a janitor, as I know someone would say "it's 2am", who is pushed out of the way by a running kid, and maybe even thought to be an accomplice, who gets shot too. We hear it all the time in Richmond for instance, innocent bystanders, children for instance, who get killed. We need to think outside of the box. Start helping our community, one person at a time.
Also, don't forget, that police officer and the whole police department, need help to change how they look at their job they are hired to do by the community that pays their salary. Don't be afraid to speak up and tell your employees how you want them to work for you. The police would not exist without our tax payer funding. Call your police department, don't just use this forum, and ask how they can work better for us. We fund their insurance policy too not just their salary, work place and cars. Just like voting, participate, be a voice and help make our community stronger and better. Learn from the mistakes made. Don't empower improper behavior from any side you take on this incident. The kid was not right and needed help, and others are out there, and the police were not right and need help. As a village, we can do it.


4 people like this
Posted by concerned village member
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 1:23 am

I agree, residents in each city should be involved in how our police department is run and makes policy decisions. They "are", our employees.
Who police's the police? They are paid by us to serve and protect but where do we get a say?
Simple calls or emails to the Police Chief, our Mayor, council members or going to town meetings and voicing concerns and getting educated on what to expect from our employees, the police department, is needed.
Please participate in making this community asset, our police department a better safer service.
The police are just people like you and me, good and bad, confident and scared, well educated or not, have good thought processes or not, have same values or not, go the extra mile to better themselves or not, but then put on a uniform and go to work for us. They must be respectful to the citizens they work for and follow the same laws they expect us to. Set an example.
If their training teaches them to kill a kid who is resisting arrest with no weapons, we need to see they are taught another method.
No object someone is stealing is worth taking a life for. No one should be given that right. We all thought a kid losing his hand for stealing a loaf of bread was barbaric and that punishment changed.
No scared kid trying to run away from an authority figure, whether he pushes you over or not, is worth taking a life. No one should be given the right to kill for that behavior.
That being said, if you picture the situation where you are pushed on your back and the person passes you, how does that person get shot in the front rather than back?
An officer has to get past the ego buster and go for the old fashioned chase and tackle instead, or heaven forbid, lose the perpetrator.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 22, 2016 at 8:31 am

@ it takes a village ---- What??? Never mind. Sorry, we just live in different realities. I don't like people that steal from others. Period.


2 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 10:01 am

Once again I'm stunned at how San Ramon residents live in a bubble. Haven't you been aware of the "Black Lives Matter" and the notion of police over reaction? This young man is in the same situation and 90% of you are implying that his life didn't matter.
It's time all of us believe that "All Lives Matter"

We own a small business in Danville. At one point someone ran in and grabbed $100 of merchandise. I guess next time I'll just shoot him since he actually had in his hands items worth $100 more than John Demming.


4 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:01 am

Reality Check.....and all you other Villagers,

You are ignoring to the RISK of serious bodily harm that can incur IN AN INSTANT in these types of confrontation situations.
If someone attacks you--if they get their hands on you--you could be dead in an instant. They can cause you to fall and crack your head. They could knock teeth out. They could destroy your eye. They could break your back. They could do it accidentally or purposefully.
Add to this that the Police have a gun--that can kill others....or themselves, if taken away....in an instant.
It's a very dangerous situation.

You seriously expect to hire people to be Policemen and Policewomen in your town, when you are willing to force them to have policies that could send them home at night injured, maimed for life, or dead forever.

You had better teach your children (and yourself) to go to the "inth" degree to cooperate and comply fully with the Police when in this type of situation. Everybodys first job is to protect themselves and to go home completely uninjured. You had better be aware of that. Or you are an Idiot!
This is NOT THE TIME to argue. This is NOT THE TIME to "stand up for your rights". That can be done LATER when the dangerous situation is ended.

If you teach your kids otherwise (to be disrespectful, to push the boundaries, to confront or challenge the Police, to run, to attack), then YOU COULD END UP WITH DEAD KIDS! You teach them with your words, actions, and how you allow the educational system and general society to teach them.
If they are asked to do something, they should do it. If they are asked to "jump", they should not "sass" the police, they should not ask "how high" in a sarcastic voice. They should jump....and jump as high as they can.
Sorry....but teaching them anything else is foolish on your part.

REGARDLESS of whether the Police are correct (right or wrong) in their action in a particular situation, do not ignore or underestimate the danger of that situation. Treat it (the situation) with the respect that it deserves--and live to fight another day.

You watch these low-life parents that SUE the City and Police for the criminal actions and bad, risky, poor-judgment behavior of their thuggy kids. Do you wonder WHY those kids exhibited that poor behavior on that day--that got them killed? They were TRAINED THAT WAY by their bad-mouthing parents over the family dinner table and the Ha Ha stories about the way the parents acted around the police and what they got away with.

Somebody runs in, steals merchandise, and runs out of your store before you can stop them.
That is a bit DIFFERENT than if a person runs in, grabs an item, you pull a gun and tell them to freeze....and instead they charge you swinging......or grab your employee wife and slam her head into a concrete wall and then charge you.
WHEN do you shoot!?! Your wife is dead.....and you are next.
Oh, yeah. Just talk to him. Realize that he is having a bad day and might have some "reasons" for why he is stealing.
Reality Check yourself!

Having said all of the above, I do think that Police should be specifically trained that, when they shoot, they do NOT always have to shoot to kill and do not have to shoot a million bullets.
They should be trained in HOW and WHEN to safely shoot to STOP or hinder a person with 1-2 bullets.
And that there should be policies about that.


6 people like this
Posted by Everyman
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

We can all contrive hypotheticals to serve our preconceptions about whether the police were justified in using lethal force in this situation. My own bias is that I'm dubious that this death was necessary, but like everyone else on this thread, I lack sufficient facts to render a definitive conclusion.

What I want to comment on, though, is a remarkably callous indifference to the the terminal fate of this young man that is evident in several posts. Somebody Died here folks, and to respond with a shrug or a dismissive suggestion that he really ought to have been home in bed is both inhumane and, I will venture to guess, oblivious to the commenters' own life histories.

Who among us has never done something abjectly stupid, the consequences of which we escaped with our lives? Show of hands and mine will stay down. As should Everybody else's. The exact circumstances may vary from these facts, but not the fatal potential, I'll wager. Lucky us.

Where.s the sense of regret, of 'there, but for grace, go I' -- the baseline human decency we all ought to require from each other when we live in community? Tarry long on this Town Square and it's difficult to escape one sad conclusion: people suck.


2 people like this
Posted by Everyman
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

We can all contrive hypotheticals to serve our preconceptions about whether the police were justified in using lethal force in this situation. My own bias is that I'm dubious that this death was necessary, but like everyone else on this thread, I lack sufficient facts to render a definitive conclusion.

What I want to comment on, though, is a remarkably callous indifference to the the terminal fate of this young man that is evident in several posts. Somebody Died here folks, and to respond with a shrug or a dismissive suggestion that he really ought to have been home in bed is both inhumane and, I will venture to guess, oblivious to the commenters' own life histories.

Who among us has never done something abjectly stupid, the consequences of which we escaped with our lives? Show of hands and mine will stay down. As should Everybody else's. The exact circumstances may vary from these facts, but not the fatal potential, I'll wager. Lucky us.

Where.s the sense of regret, of 'there, but for grace, go I' -- the baseline human decency we all ought to require from each other when we live in community? Tarry long on this Town Square and it's difficult to escape one sad conclusion: people suck.


5 people like this
Posted by Everyman
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Well, it does bear repeating, but I did not mean to double post -- apologies.


5 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Dear Everyman,
It was worth reading twice.


Like this comment
Posted by Bayareamom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm

That was not the link I thought I'd copied.

Here is the link I meant to post:

Web Link

Literally, just today, I have read I do believe every single comment re this incident and probably most articles written, to-date, re the same. My heart and thoughts go out to both the officer and his family and to this young man's family as well. Hopefully, this case will close soon and both families will be able to heal and move on.




2 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of Danville
on Feb 2, 2016 at 11:28 am

i pity the officer who had to work at 2am; who had to risk his life answering calls for which he didn't know if the criminal was armed or not, violent or not, single or multiple; who had to face the dramatic encounter and had to scramble to aim at a moving target who did not respect authority; who had to go on leave and had his name publicized; who had to deal w/ the headaches of lawsuit from the same genre of disrespectful people from the same family; who had to potentially face consequences even if he is found not at fault (like being relocated); who might have to call an end to his career in the field; and who has to deal w/ all the family issues due to all these...

when can we give people who risk their very own lives for our safety a little more credit? can anyone who blames the officer be actually selfless enough like this officer to be on life-threatening duty at 2am? i know i cannot, so i am with the officer and i condemn the family who first produced a criminal then produced a hideous drama that wasted tax payers' time and money and still trying to waste more


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couples Counseling, Al Pacino Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,543 views

Talking traffic with Mike Tassano
By pleasantonweekly.com | 4 comments | 868 views