November 18, 2022
Contact: Ted Asregadoo, Public Information Officer, 925-957-8638
DA Report: Use of Force Justified in Officer Involved Shooting of Patrick Watkins in 2021
Martinez, Calif. – The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office report concludes that officers who were involved in the shooting death of Patrick Watkins in Pittsburg were justified in their actions.
Since 1984, Contra Costa County has a protocol in place for law enforcement agencies to investigate Officer Involved Shootings. The District Attorney’s Office conducts its own independent investigation of such incidents and releases its findings in a Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI) report. The document summarizes the investigative report of the incident, contains a legal analysis, and concludes with a charging decision.
Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said that she and her executive team review the evidence, officer and witness statements, and other facts related to the incident “to independently determine if there is any criminal liability in fatal incidents when law enforcement is involved.” If criminal liability does exist, the District Attorney – which represents The People of the State of California – has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a death was not justified.
The incident involving Patrick Watkins took place on May 20, 2021, around 9:20 pm in the City of Pittsburg. Peace Officers from Pittsburg Police Department responded to a 911 call that Watkins was at the front door of his ex-girlfriend’s residence with a firearm and was refusing to leave the premises.
When officers arrived at the location, they saw a man who matched Watkins’s description at the ground floor level of the residential complex. After attempts by police to get Watkins to comply with orders, Watkins ignored the commands and proceeded to walk up a stairwell toward his ex-girlfriend’s home. Multiple officers followed him to the second story, ordering him to get on the ground. Watkins was facing away from the officers but then turned toward them with a semi-automatic firearm in his right hand. Watkins then pointed the weapon at one officer – who fired three shots at Watkins. After the officer’s service weapon malfunctioned, he dropped to a prone position. Another officer, who thought his fellow peace officer had been shot, fired twice at Watkins. Watkins died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.
An autopsy by the Contra Costa County Coroner was conducted on May 24, 2021, by Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Ikechi Ogan. Dr. Ogan’s summary of the autopsy concluded that Watkins had two gunshot wounds, one on his left calf, and one on the left side of his chest that pierced his heart, liver, and fractured a rib. A toxicology report noted Watkins had the presence of Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, and Delta 9 THC – a chemical found in cannabis that produces an intoxicating effect when consumed.
In a legal analysis of the case, the District Attorney’s Office applied the applicable laws and the California District Attorney’s Uniform Crime Charging Standards to review the evidence of the incident. The concluding opinion determined the actions by the peace officers against Patrick Watkins were justified in the use of lethal force. Both officers acted with an actual and reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary in this incident to defend against an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury.
As such, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office will take no further action in this case.
The family members of Patrick Watkins and the Attorney General of the State of California have been notified of the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident report – which can be viewed on the Contra Costa District Attorney’s website.