Killing a killer

Troubled relationship may have preceded Carmichael shooting that deputies reportedly witnessed

This story has been expanded from its print version.

In their second fatal shooting last month, Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies opened fire on a man moments after he reportedly gunned down his girlfriend in Carmichael on Oct. 27.

The incident began 12:30 a.m. that Sunday with a call about a car crash. According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, a caller reported that a vehicle smashed into a tree on the 5800 block of Angelina Avenue, where a man waved a gun around a woman. Additional callers described an argument between the man and woman as they walked to and from a nearby apartment complex.

About 10 minutes later, arriving deputies began to approach a woman standing near an apartment. That’s when authorities say the man shot the woman. Three deputies fired at the man, hitting him.

Paramedics pronounced both gunshot victims dead at the scene. The Sheriff’s Office says a gun was recovered from the male suspect, identified by the Coroner’s Office as Earnest Easterling, 25, of Sacramento.

The female victim was identified as Chanell Brown, 23, of Sacramento. Relatives told Fox 40 that the two had a long-troubled relationship.

A sheriff’s spokeswoman didn’t respond immediately to a question about whether homicide detectives had confirmed the nature of the pair’s relationship, or whether Brown had sought help from the department before. According to Sacramento Superior Court records, Easterling had never faced formal charges in the county.

But the county’s Domestic Violence Death Review Team, which released its annual report last month, often finds recurring patterns in the homicides it studies. Of the seven homicides the team reviewed this past year, prior abuse existed in six cases and handguns were used in five.

The county’s flagship response to the public health issue—the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center—saw visits dip to 1,248 last year, down 27% from 2018 and the lowest since the center opened in 2016.

The Sheriff’s Office shooting marked the second in three weeks for its deputies. On Oct. 6, a deputy responding to a daytime disturbance on a dusty country road opened fire on a man with a BB gun in his waistband, killing him.

Sacramento police Officer Tara O’Sullivan was killed this past June when she and other officers attempted to help a woman leave a domestic violence situation and were ambushed by the woman’s alleged abuser, who fired rounds from an AR-15-style assault rifle. The jailed defendant, 46-year-old Adel Sambrano Ramos, won’t be back in court again until late January.

The Sheriff’s Office also investigated an Aug. 22 incident in which a U.S. marshal clipped the hand of a man reportedly pointing a firearm at authorities executing a search warrant inside a Rancho Cordova home.