Pleasant Hill mayor on last week’s Cleopatra Drive shooting incident

Pleasant Hill mayor Matt Rinn.

PLEASANT HILL, CA (Dec. 11, 2023) — On Monday, Pleasant Hill’s newly selected mayor, Matt Rinn, put out a statement regarding the police action in the Sherman Acres neighborhood last week. Rinn writes:

I know the incident that occurred between Thursday, Dec 7 and Saturday, Dec 9 on Cleopatra Drive was a cause for concern, but I would like to take a moment and provide some needed detail and insight that we hope will provide some closure and peace of mind regarding how the situation was handled.

While the incident involving Mr. Saechou was stressful, the mindful and strategic actions of the Pleasant Hill Police Department and our cooperating agencies allowed for the situation to be resolved peacefully and without any further injury or loss of life. While events like this are understandably frightening for neighbors and certainly disruptive to the larger community, I support the tactics employed by the police department. These tactics included:

  • To allow for a cooling down period, the tactic of ‘disengagement’ was employed. To achieve this, the SWAT team was temporarily recalled while other resources remained on scene. Based on the PHPD’s assessment, it was determined that Mr. Saechou’s intent was to force a violent encounter with law enforcement. De-escalating and giving Mr. Saechou time to calm down ultimately led to him safely surrendering.
  • During this time, PHPD remained vigilant and on task protecting the safety of the neighborhood using a variety of resources, including undercover officers, specialized surveillance equipment, and other technology. A police presence was maintained near Mr. Saechou’s house throughout the two days.
  • At the same time, other officers monitored the suspect’s social media communications and attempted to speak with him via those same channels. When it became clear from these communications that his threat level was increasing, the SWAT teams and other officers were brought back in to prevent any further violence.

The strategies employed had the desired effect, as Mr. Saechou did voluntarily surrender himself into custody in a manner that safeguarded himself, the neighborhood, and the law enforcement officers on scene.

I know this situation created difficulties for the Sherman Acres neighborhood and I regret the stress and inconvenience caused. Many have asked for greater communication during the situation, unfortunately, that could not be achieved without also informing Mr. Saechou of police presence and activities. Understanding this, I am still pleased that the ultimate result was a good one and that a person undergoing a mental health crisis was safely removed and taken into custody.

I want to extend my thanks and support to our law enforcement personnel who worked to resolve this issue peacefully. I appreciate the capable leadership of Chief Scott Vermillion, the actions of our police force, and the tactics employed by law enforcement to achieve this result. The safety of all of the Pleasant Hill Community is first and foremost in the actions of the Pleasant Hill Police Department, and this incident was an example of how a potentially violent situation could be de-escalated and resolved safely.

We thank our community for their patience and support in this challenging incident.

Matt Rinn
Mayor, City of Pleasant Hill