IM this article to a friend!

August 22, 2005

Man shot by the police was hearing impaired

From: Press-Enterprise, CA - Aug 22, 2005

FLED: Investigators now want to know if the burglary suspect heard officers' commands.

By NATHAN MAX / The Press-Enterprise

MORENO VALLEY - A 23-year-old San Diego man who was shot and killed after he tried to run and hide from Moreno Valley police was hearing impaired, authorities said Monday.

Lance Michael Solomon was killed Friday afternoon after he was discovered hiding in a garbage can in a northern Moreno Valley neighborhood. Solomon was a wanted burglary suspect in San Diego County, authorities said Friday.

"We have information that the suspect was hearing impaired but we don't know to what level. That's still part of the investigation," said Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman Cpl. Dennis Gutierrez. Moreno Valley contracts its police services to the Sheriff's Department.

As a boy, Solomon studied at the California School for the Deaf in Riverside, according to school Superintendent Harold Kund.

Kund, who was been at the school since 1974, described Solomon as a troubled youth who left school before graduating. Solomon was "profoundly deaf" and could not hear shouted directions, Kund said.

"He was a young man who had some bad breaks in his life," Kund said.

The officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Deputy Daniel Decker, a 15-year Sheriff's Department veteran, and Sgt. Kevin Koehler, a 14-year veteran.

Police staked out the home of a friend of Solomon's after getting a tip Thursday that he might be visiting, Sheriff's spokesman Earl 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.

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.

When asked Monday whether Solomon's deafness could have been a contributing factor in his not obeying with officers' commands, Gutierrez said: "We don't know as of yet because we're still looking into the level of what that impairment was."

Reach Nathan Max at (951) 567-2408 or

© 2005, The Press-Enterprise Company