The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office concluded this week that the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Krys Ruiz by Lompoc police on March 28 was a justifiable homicide.
In an eight-page report released Friday, the office describes how Ruiz ― who had a history of mental-health problems, including multiple suicide attempts ― reportedly rushed at officers while wearing a clown mask and holding a knife. It also details a suicide note found in Ruiz’s pocket that identified his next of kin and wishes for who would receive his assets. “I hope my death makes more sense than my life,” the note read.
At approximately 8 p.m. that night, the report states, police received an anonymous 9-1-1 call that a person armed with a gun was near the old Lompoc Theater. Investigators later determined it was Ruiz who called. Two officers responded and spotted Ruiz, whom they were unable to identify because of the mask.
The report says that when the officers caught up to Ruiz, he began “sprinting” at them with his arms raised, holding a large kitchen knife. The officers ordered him to stop, and when he didn’t they opened fire, striking him three times, including once in the head. The shooting was captured by one of the officers’ in-car cameras. On Ruiz’s arm was written “Reach in my pocket,” which directed police to the suicide note. An autopsy found “nothing of toxicological significance in his system” at the time.
“Lompoc Police Department was familiar with Mr. Ruiz and many officers had numerous contacts with Mr. Ruiz, including calls for service for welfare checks due to Mr. Ruiz’s mental health or Mr. Ruiz attempting suicide or threatening suicide,” the report states. “Lompoc PD generated four reports between 2017 and 2019 where Mr. Ruiz had made suicide attempts or was threatening suicide.” The last call for service was made January 1, 2020, when Ruiz was again threatening to kill himself.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 (TALK) or text TALK to 741741.