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August 23, 2005

Man killed by police was on run

From: Press-Enterprise, CA - Aug 23, 2005

MORENO VALLEY: Suspect Lance Michael Solomon had escaped arrest in La Mesa the day before.

By NATHAN MAX and SABRINA BRUMMOND / The Press-Enterprise

MORENO VALLEY - A 23-year-old deaf San Diego man who was shot and killed Friday by a Moreno Valley police officer had evaded capture twice in San Diego County the day before his death, authorities said.

A felony arrest warrant had been issued for Lance Michael Solomon in connection with a residential burglary in La Mesa, and Solomon was wanted for questioning in four other La Mesa burglary cases, Lt. Allen White of the La Mesa Police Department said by phone Tuesday.

In two of those burglaries, a .22-caliber revolver, a .357-caliber revolver and a 12-gauge shotgun were taken, White said.

In the two weeks prior to his death, Solomon evaded capture at least three times, White said.

"The day before the shooting, he was involved in two pursuits in San Diego County and eluded capture," White said. "During the first (pursuit), my partner and I were almost hit by the vehicle he was driving."

Solomon, a former student at California School for the Deaf in Riverside, also was considered armed and dangerous and likely to resist arrest, "based on witness statements of people we've talked to and on a prior arrest where we actually had to fight with him," White said.

Two Moreno Valley police officers involved in the shooting, Deputy Daniel Decker and Sgt. Kevin Koehler, remain on paid administrative leave, said Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Earl Quinata. Moreno Valley contracts its police services through the Sheriff's Department.

White said Monday that his agency informed Moreno Valley police prior to the incident of Solomon's hearing impairment.

Solomon's half-sister, 35-year-old Chino resident Elena Harrell, said Tuesday that Solomon had no hearing at all.

"He was completely deaf since birth, so he wouldn't have been able to respond to (the police)," Harrell said. "He could not read lips or speak. All he knew was sign language."

Harrell said Solomon lived with her for eight years after their mother died when he was 11 years old. She had not been in contact with him for the past three years, Harrell said.

"He was troubled, but not a bad kid," Harrell said. "At some point he went down the wrong road. He must have gotten mixed up with the wrong people."

Police staked out the home of a friend of Solomon's after getting a tip Thursday from the La Mesa police that he might be visiting Moreno Valley, Quinata said. When Solomon drove into his friend's driveway and saw officers, he jumped out of the car, fled through the house and jumped over a wall in the backyard, Quinata said.

An officer chased Solomon down Manzanita Avenue shortly before 1:30 p.m. and fired several shots at him after seeing a gun in Solomon's hand, Quinata said. Solomon did not comply with the deputy's orders to give up, Quinata said.

Solomon ran through more backyards and hid in a garbage can at a house on Duckbill Road. When officers found him inside, police say he reached for his waistband. Police reported finding a gun at the bottom of the garbage can, Quinata said.

Reach Nathan Max at (951) 567-2408 or

© 2005, The Press-Enterprise Company