FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—August 9, 2021
Contact: Scott Alonso, 925-957-8638, office; [email protected]
Martinez, Calif. – Following an extensive investigation and review, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office concludes Sheriff Deputy Matthew Gauthier lawfully shot and killed Paul Ridgeway in 2018. The DA’s Office released a public report about the shooting today. No charges will be filed against Deputy Gauthier and the Office’s criminal investigation has been concluded.
On December 5, 2018 at approximately 9:30 a.m., Deputy Gauthier finished a call for service and was on patrol in the unincorporated area of Martinez, California, near Adelaide Drive and Pacheco Boulevard. The deputy drove a marked police vehicle and noticed Paul Ridgeway outside a residence. Deputy Gauthier was familiar with Ridgeway as he had an outstanding arrest warrant. Ridgeway was a known gang member with ties to Family Affiliated Irish Mafia (FAIM).
Deputy Gauthier drove past Ridgeway on Adelaide Drive and turned onto Pacheco Boulevard to park his car out of sight of Ridgeway. Deputy Gauthier proceeded to walk back to Adelaide Drive to approach Ridgeway and take him into custody for the outstanding arrest warrant. When Ridgeway noticed Gauthier, he ran away from the deputy. Deputy Gauthier ran after him, and as he caught up to Ridgeway, he tackled him to the ground. Once on the ground, Ridgeway violently resisted the deputy, which resulted in him drawing his duty firearm to defend himself. While still on the ground, Ridgeway pulled out his own firearm, a Daewoo 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and fired one round at Deputy Gauthier, barely missing his face.
After the near miss, Deputy Gauthier got up on one knee and fired his service weapon twice at Ridgeway. Seeing that Ridgeway was still in possession of the firearm, Deputy Gauthier then stood up and continued to fire at him. In total, Ridgeway was hit eight times from the gunfire and died at the scene.
The DA’s Office and every law enforcement agency in Contra Costa County has adopted the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incidents Protocol (“the Protocol”) to investigate incidents when officers or civilians are shot or die during an encounter with law enforcement. Under the Protocol, the DA’s Office investigates all officer-involved shootings in Contra Costa County for the purpose of making an independent determination of criminal liability. The sole purpose of the District Attorney’s investigation is to determine if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed during a fatal encounter with law enforcement.
The OIS public report is available on our website.