CARMICHAEL, Calif. — JW Geiger, 22, was sitting in the passenger seat next to his brother when Sacramento County Sheriff’s detectives opened fire on Friday night.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) were following up on evidence that led them to a location in Carmichael, where they found a car connected to their investigation. The detectives tried to make contact with the people in the car, but at some point during the encounter, shots were fired. JW's brother and one of the detectives were shot.
Kershawn Geiger, 24, died following the shooting on Friday, January 15, in front of the Crestview North Apartments in Carmichael, where he had just dropped off his two-year-old daughter and her mother, family members said.
The second person who was shot that evening was a 47-year-old detective with 15 years in the department, officials say. The officer remains in an area hospital and is expected to survive.
The Geiger’s were apparently driving a vehicle connected to the investigation.
“At some point during the contact, multiple shots were fired striking one detective and the suspect,” the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office press release said.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office has yet to confirm exactly who fired shots that evening. The other responding detective has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation of the officer involved shooting.
JW said the officers shined flashlights into the vehicle and yelled at the Geiger’s several times to put their hands up, but never announced themselves as law enforcement nor did they use their red and blue flashing lights. He added that he didn’t know he was being approached by police until he was in handcuffs.
JW says he’s sure neither he nor his brother fired shots that night, leading him to believe that the detective’s injuries were a result of friendly fire.
“I believe that the one on my side, also shot through the window, and I believe it may have hit the other officer,” JW said.
Jethro Geiger, 56, father of JW and Kershawn is angry about the incident and is demanding answers for what happened.
“If they shot off four times, [yelled] 'hands, hands, hands' and immediately started shooting, that’s an assassination. They’re intending to shoot to kill,” Jethro said.
Family members and friends held a somber vigil where Kershawn was killed to close out the weekend. Candles, balloons, and photos of the young father laid atop broken pieces of glass from the bullet shattered car window. Kershawn was a father of two young girls and worked as an electrician, but also went to carpenter school.
Their mother Yaphette Geiger, in tears, asked for answers as to why officers opened fire on her sons.
“My son is gone because God allowed it, He saved me one,” Yaphette said. “But, why did they kill him?”
The Sheriff’s Office was contacted multiple times for comment, however a spokesperson told ABC10 no further information could be released beyond the latest department press release on the incident which can be viewed here.
Officer, suspect shot in Carmichael neighborhood