Family of Rio Linda man shot, killed by Sacramento deputies releases video of confrontation

Lawyers representing the family of a Rio Linda man killed last month by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies released video Wednesday of the fatal confrontation, claiming authorities shot him even though he posed no public threat and was suffering from a mental health crisis.

Sheriff’s deputies were called about 8:30 a.m. March 23 to a home in the 6500 block of Campanile Street because roommates of the victim, Christopher Gilmore, said he was suicidal and was cutting himself.

“This heartbreaking footage of Christopher Gilmore’s final moments reveals a deeply troubling lack of compassion and a failure to adhere to training protocols designed to de-escalate and protect those in mental health crises,” Sacramento lawyer Daniel Del Rio, representing the family, said in a statement.

Sgt. Amar Gandhi, a spokesman with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, said previously deputies began negotiating with Gilmore, 38, who was encountered bleeding in the home’s garage. He exited the garage while holding the knife, and was hit by less-lethal shotgun rounds, “which were actually pretty ineffective,” Gandhi told reporters the day of the shooting

“He continued to advance, got within feet of a deputy and an officer-involved shooting ensued,” Gandhi said. “From there, unfortunately, the suspect was hit several times and did die at the scene.”

The lawyers said in a statement that Gilmore never brandished the razor or pointed it toward deputies, and didn’t approach them as four deputies seen in the video encountered him.

Gandhi declined to comment Wednesday until the Sheriff’s Office releases its own footage, including video from bodyworn cameras. The Sheriff’s Office is expected to release the imagery, as is common practice when deputies fire their service weapon, before the end of the month.

The incident marked the third officer-involved shooting in March.

Christopher Gilmore is seen in an undated photo. His sister identified the 38-year-old as the man shot and killed by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies during a mental health crisis call in Rio Linda on Saturday, March 23, 2024.
Christopher Gilmore is seen in an undated photo. His sister identified the 38-year-old as the man shot and killed by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies during a mental health crisis call in Rio Linda on Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Bobbie Gilmore, the sister of the victim, has said her brother had a history of mental health issues since his teenage years. She said he was holding a “small disposable razor” and not a knife, as she watched the shooting unfold.

“Watching my brother die is like one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to live with,” Gilmore said at a vigil hosted Monday in Rio Linda. “I tried to save him, I begged them to save his life. And, they wouldn’t. They told me ‘no.’”

’Hey! Drop the knife!’

The one-minute video clip of the fatal shooting, taken from a surveillance camera on the property, shows four sheriff’s deputies standing in what appears to be the front driveway of the Campanile Street home with Bobbie Gilmore and two onlookers, believed to be roommates, standing across the street and watching the incident unfold.

As the clip begins, one of the deputies has pulled out his department-issued handgun and is holding the weapon in front of him. Another deputy standing a few feet away is holding what appears to be a shotgun with markings consistent with non-lethal weapons.

Whether shotgun is armed with regular shells or less-lethal ammunition is unclear, though deputies said less-lethal rounds were first fired during the ordeal.

Two other deputies stand nearby on the other side of a parked gray car in the driveway. Those two deputies seem at ease; one is holding a phone to her ear, the video shows.

Seconds later, the video shows three of the four deputies backing up and away from the front of the home. The deputy holding the shotgun stays in the same spot and aims the weapon at what appears to be someone coming out of the garage.

One of the deputies told the others, “He’s got a knife in his hand. He’s got a knife.”

Another deputy is heard in the video saying “Stay there, dude. Stay there. Stay there.”

Moments later, another deputy speaking louder tells the man “Hey! Drop the knife! Drop the knife!”

Meanwhile, Gilmore’s sister stands across the street with the other onlookers and is heard speaking loudly.

“Christopher, what are you doing? Drop it,” she appears to have said as a naked Gilmore walks out onto the driveway.

As Gilmore enters the video frame, the deputy holding the shotgun begins firing at Gilmore. The deputy fires at least five initial rounds from the shotgun in Gilmore’s direction.

The camera captures Gilmore from behind as he walks onto the driveway, initially toward a parked red pickup. The video shows Gilmore’s momentum speed up after the initial shots are fired as he heads toward the street.

The deputies are heard screaming “Drop the knife ” repeatedly at Gilmore.

As Gilmore stumbles toward the street, three gunshots are heard being fired at Gilmore. Those rounds knocked him to the pavement in a forward motion. Gilmore rolls over and comes to a rest on his right side in the roadway.

The deputy, with the service weapon, closest to Gilmore appears to fire those final three gunshots. The sound of those gunshots are distinctive, and are louder than the shots fired from the rifle earlier.

“Christoper! What are you doing, brother,” Bobbie Gilmore across the street is heard saying as her brother lies wounded in the street.

She yells at the deputies “Did you shoot him?”

Family and friends light candles at a vigil for Christopher Gilmore, who was shot by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies during a mental health crisis March 23 in Rio Linda.
Family and friends light candles at a vigil for Christopher Gilmore, who was shot by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies during a mental health crisis March 23 in Rio Linda.

‘My brother didn’t deserve to die that day’

Bobbie Gilmore continues to scream at the deputies, asking them if they shot her brother, before one of the deputies tells her, “Back up, he had a knife.”

She yells at the deputy, “He was no harm to you.”

Bobbie Gilmore continues to yell at the deputies for a few seconds more, asking them to help her wounded brother who was now on his back, wounded but moving in the street. The video clip then ends.

The Sheriff’s Office’s professional standards division will investigate the shooting, which is standard practice. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will conduct its own review of the shooting.

In addition to Del Rio, Gilmore’s family — who include two of his four children, ages 11 and 14 — has also retained Jim DeSimone, a Los Angeles civil rights lawyer.

Del Rio said at the family’s vigil that his office would examine if the deputies should have done anything else rather than resort to lethal force. The family created a GoFundMe account to cover funeral expenses.

Gandhi has said deputies are trained to de-escalate dangerous incidents.

“Our ultimate goal in this ... we’ll stay as long as we need,” he said on the day of the incident. “As long as the subject is willing to talk to us, is willing to engage in some sort of discussion, we’ll talk and we don’t want this to ever happen.”

Bobbie Gilmore said she hopes raising awareness about the officer-involved shooting sparks conversations about mental health and reform within the Sheriff’s Office.

“My brother didn’t deserve to die that day,” she said.

Bobbie Gilmore, who declined to speak Wednesday after the video’s release, said Monday during the vigil, “This is something I have to live with. I just want his voice to be heard.”