January 13, 2017
Oroville, Ca—At approximately 5:00 AM on January 12, 2017, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) received a call from a man reporting his father, Marc Chiasson Sr., 65, who had serious physical and mental health issues, had stopped taking his medication and was making statements about wanting to die. BCSO Deputies Vong Vang and Randall Cooper responded to Chiasson’s residence on Cox Lane, in Oroville to conduct a welfare check.
Upon arrival, deputies spoke to the reporting party and determined the elder Chiasson was inside the residence. The reporting party advised that prior to the deputies’ arrival Chiasson had been attempting to get a shotgun from a locked safe and was making statements indicating he was intent upon committing suicide. Chiasson became irate when deputies entered the residence, stating he didn’t need assistance. He was cursing at the deputies and demanding they leave. Deputies determined Chiasson was in need of a psychological evaluation and due to his agitated state the use of handcuffs would be appropriate for the transport to the hospital.
As the deputies were applying the handcuffs, Chiasson stiffened his arms and struggled briefly to prevent the deputies from handcuffing him. The deputies were quickly able to gain control of Chiasson, and apply the handcuffs by utilizing a wrist lock control hold. No other physical force was used to take Chiasson into custody. Deputies began to walk Chiasson out of the residence; however, as he was walking he began to drag his feet and appeared to be having difficulty walking. Deputies put Chiasson in the back seat of a patrol car, where he then laid down and became unresponsive. Concerned for Chiasson’s well-being, deputies checked his vital signs and determined he had a pulse and was still breathing, but was unresponsive. Deputies radioed dispatch and requested immediate response from fire/medical personnel. As the deputies continued to monitor Chiasson, they noted he had no pulse and his eyes would not react to light. Deputies immediately removed him from the patrol car, removed the handcuffs, and began CPR. Deputies performed CPR for 12 minutes. When fire and medical personnel arrived on scene the life-saving efforts continued. Ultimately, it was determined Chiasson could not be revived and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Due to the fact that this death occurred immediately after Chiasson was taken into custody, BCSO contacted the Butte County District Attorney’s Office and requested they conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of the incident. The investigation included interviews with responding deputies, as well as family members who were present. Investigators also reviewed body camera footage recording the life-saving efforts undertaken by the deputies. All information obtained from those sources is consistent with details as described above, and there is nothing to suggest that deputies did anything to contribute to Chiasson’s death.
The investigation further revealed that Chiasson had a number of medical issues, which will be examined as part of a scheduled autopsy. The autopsy is being conducted by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. The completion of the investigation is pending the final results of the autopsy and the examination of Chiasson’s medical history. Further status updates about the investigation will be released by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff Honea said, “This is an unfortunate incident for everyone involved. My heart goes out to the family of Mr. Chiasson for their loss, and to my deputies who went to extraordinary lengths to save Mr. Chiasson’s life, but still experienced his d