May 222010

Tragic for all concerned, including the census taker.

May 22, 2010 01:02:12 AM

A 67-year-old Yuba City woman was shot and killed by officers when she  pointed a shotgun at them and refused to put it down, Yuba City police said  Friday.

Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin was pronounced dead late Thursday at her home  at 764 Mariner Loop in an affluent neighborhood on the city’s far south  side.

An autopsy Friday showed she died of “multiple gunshot wounds,” said Sutter  County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Brenda Baker.

A neighbor reported hearing five or six shots.

Roger-Vasselin was the sister of the late Thomas E. Mathews, a Yuba County  judge and district attorney who died in 2005.

“They shot her dead,” Roger-Vasselin’s distraught son, Christian Biscotti,  said outside the house Friday morning.

“I think she was just startled” by late visits to her home, he said.

Before Biscotti could say more, a relative or family friend took him by the  arm and led him inside, shutting the door.

Officers went to the Mariner Loop home after receiving a call at 9:04 p.m.  about weapons being brandished, according to a police incident log. In a press  release, police did not say exactly when the shooting happened.

Police scanner traffic indicated the shooting happened about 10:20 p.m.

A U.S. Census worker “had been confronted by residents who pointed a firearm  at the worker and said they would not answer any questions and closed the door,”  said police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey.

When two male officers arrived, 51-year-old Lionel Craig Patterson answered  the door, armed with a handgun, police said. “As officers were dealing with the  male, a female approached the door with a shotgun and ignored officers’ orders  to release the weapon. As the female advanced on officers, she continued to  point the shotgun at officers in a threatening manner and the two officers fired  their service weapons, hitting the female,” the police report said.

Both officers fired their guns, said Pavey, adding she didn’t believe  Roger-Vasselin or Patterson fired.

Both officers were uniformed and clearly identifiable as police, Pavey  said.

Toxicology tests will determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the  incident, Pavey said.

Sonny Le, regional spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau, offered a different  version of events. The female census taker knocked on the door at 7:45 p.m.  about 25 minutes before sunset when workers are supposed to quit. The  Roger-Vasselin home was the last one on her list before she went home, he  said.

Patterson answered the door and first talked with the census taker, Le  said.

“The visit was quite routine” until Roger-Vasselin approached with a gun, he  said.

The census taker immediately left and called her supervisor. It was 9:04 p.m.  when police were called, after news of the incident traveled up the Census  Bureau’s chain of command, Le said.

Le called the incident especially tragic because the census taker, like  Roger-Vasselin, is a Yuba City resident.

Patterson was arrested on suspicion of assault with a weapon on a police  officer and was being held without bail Friday in Sutter County Jail.

The officers have been placed on routine administrative leave while the  Sutter County District Attorney’s Office determines if the shooting was  justified. District Attorney Carl Adams said he did not yet have all the  facts.

A neighbor, Bob Dhaliwal, said he was in bed when he heard people, including  one woman, shouting and yelling, followed by five or six shots. When he came  outside, officers with guns drawn had the male suspect on the ground, then took  him away in a patrol car, he said.

“All I saw was him being arrested. I assumed he shot somebody,” Dhaliwal  said.

Patterson lives at the same address. Pavey and neighbors said it wasn’t clear  what the relationship was between him and Roger-Vasselin.

Dhaliwal and other neighbors said they didn’t know Roger-Vasselin well.

“She kept to herself,” Dhaliwal said.

One neighbor, who declined to give her name, described Roger-Vasselin as  “pleasant but reserved,” almost reclusive.

“She was much more social when she first moved in. The economy was better  then,” the neighbor said.

Neighbors said they had also received nighttime visits from a female census  worker.

Roger-Vasselin owned the house for about three years, but rented it for about  six months while she worked in Hawaii, returning to Yuba City six to nine months  ago, the neighbor said.

When her mother, Lillian Mathews-Crumrine, died in 1998, Roger-Vasselin lived  in Kauai, Hawaii.

When Roger-Vasselin’s brother died in 2005, she was living in San Francisco.  Then 63 and a regional membership executive at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, she was  one four employees involved in an age-discrimination lawsuit against the  Marriott Corp.

CONTACT Rob Young at 749-4710 or at ryoung  AT

Obituary: D.A.’s Report:

Boyfriend charged:

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