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Sonoma State top cop placed on paid leave

Sonoma State University police Chief Nathan Johnson has been placed on paid administrative leave in the wake of a family altercation Monday night in the East Bay in which he allegedly fired his gun during a fight with his stepson and stabbed him with a power drill, a university spokesman said Wednesday.

Sonoma State University police Capt. Dave Dougherty will be acting chief while Johnson is on leave, and senior director for risk management Tyson Hill will be acting executive director for enterprise risk management, university spokesman Nicolas Grizzle said.

Johnson allegedly fired a warning shot into a wall with his off-duty gun during the fight with his stepson and may have stabbed him multiple times in the chest with a power drill at a home in unincorporated Hayward, Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the incident in the 3300 block of Costa Drive around 10:30 p.m., Kelly said.

“It was a family dispute that turned into a confrontation,” Kelly said this afternoon.

The sheriff’s office will send a report on its investigation of the incident to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in the next few days regarding the possible filing of assault and negligent discharge of a firearm charges, Kelly said.

Johnson was found in the home suffering from injuries to his face and head. His stepson, Elijah Latimer, 20, was found outside the home with stab wounds that appeared to be from a power drill, Kelly said.

Johnson had fired a warning shot into a wall with his off-duty gun in an effort to stop Latimer’s assault, Kelly said.

Both men gave conflicting accounts of the confrontation and neither wanted to pursue a criminal complaint, Kelly said.

Another resident of the home was uncooperative with the investigation, Kelly said.

Johnson and Latimer were treated at a hospital and were not arrested, Kelly said.

Johnson has been Sonoma State University’s police chief since 1999. He served three years as the California State University system’s chief law enforcement officer between 2010 and 2013 before returning to being SSU’s police chief.

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