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Police Determine California Man Shot to Death While Trying to Kidnap Estranged Wife Was ‘Justifiable Homicide'

California Man Fatally Shot Trying to Kidnap Estranged Wife: Cops
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California man shot to death by witness after he was allegedly trying to kidnap his estranged wife, police said.

Dec. 12 2023, Published 4:03 p.m. ET

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Prosecutors in California are calling the death of man “justifiable homicide” after he allegedly tried to kidnap his estranged wife and a witness fatally shot him.

Just after midnight on Dec. 9, Christopher Saunders, 35, reportedly drove to an apartment in Sacramento, left his car running in the parking lot and began banging on the door of the residence, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

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Officials said Saunders’ estranged wife lived at the apartment with another woman, a man and minor children.

The occupants answered the door, which is when Saunders allegedly rushed in, grabbed his wife and demanded that she leave with him, officials said.

Saunders' wife refused to leave with him, and the adults in the apartment told the assailant to leave, according to officials.

Instead, Saunders got into a physical fight with the apartment's occupants, including a 15-year-old child, according to officials.

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During the fight, the man who lived in the apartment pulled out a legally possessed gun and shot Saunders in the chest, authorities said.

Saunders tried to walk outside to his car, which was still running in the parking lot, but he collapsed.

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Responding police officers found Saunders outside the apartment and administered first aid until medics arrived, but Saunders was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Officers temporarily detained the man who shot Saunders, but the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office made a preliminary determination that the incident involved a “justifiable homicide” and the man was released.

A final determination will be made later, officials said.


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