Saturday event recalls people killed by police Memorial brings 7 families together on fifth anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death

by Dave Waddell
posted July 21

The year was 1976 and Paula Staben from Santa Paula was a senior child development major at Chico State. She lived off campus at Gordon Hall, an “all-girls dormitory.” As that year’s activities director for Alpha Chi, Paula frequented the sorority’s distinctive yellow house at the corner of Fourth and Orient streets. There, she coordinated events such as theme dinners and movie nights.

Paula Rushing with her late son Tyler

Paula completed her bachelor’s degree, returned to Ventura County, and married Scott Rushing, a real estate broker and property manager. She became mom to Tyler and, a couple of years later, to Hillary. She directed a preschool. She launched a 17-year public school teaching career after her children went off to school.

Then, on July 23, 2017, Paula Rushing’s life was upended when Tyler Rushing died far from his Ventura home, on the bloody floor of a title company at Sixth and Main streets in the city where Paula had lived and studied. Her son Tyler had been shot at nearly point-blank range by a Chico police sergeant.

Tyler’s death occurred a mere five blocks from that yellow house where she had socialized with her sorority sisters some 40 years before.

photo by Dave Waddell
As Alpha Chi’s activities director, Paula Staben Rushing frequented the sorority house.

The Rushings and other loved ones of people killed by law enforcement in Butte County during the last decade will gather Saturday, July 23, at a Chico church for a public remembrance.

Saturday’s Memorial for the Fallen, to be held on the fifth anniversary of the shooting of 34-year-old Tyler Rushing, will take place from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at Chico’s Trinity Methodist Church, 285 E. Fifth St. The event has been organized by Rushing’s parents. Water but no food will be provided to attendees, who are expected to wear to masks. Audio and video recordings are welcome.

In addition to the Rushings, who are in a costly legal fight with the City of Chico, among those expected to speak Saturday will be family members and friends of:

Breanne Sharpe, 19, shot in the back of the head and killed by a Chico police sergeant in 2013 while fleeing in a stolen auto.

Andrew Thomas, 26, shot in 2015 by a Paradise police officer while unarmed and trying to climb out of a vehicle after a DUI crash.

Eddie Gabriel “Gabe” Sanchez, a 34-year-old armed robbery suspect, shot by a Chico police detective while fleeing in 2015.

Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old Black man in mental crisis whose body was riddled with Chico police bullets in 2017.

Myra Micalizio, 56, who was in mental crisis and fleeing when shot in the back numerous times in 2018 by a Butte County sheriff’s deputy.

Stephen Vest, 30, who, in 2020, was shot numerous times while walking toward a Chico police officer with a knife.

Paula Rushing, who will talk about her son at the memorial, was too traumatized by his killing to return to the classroom, retired early, and has never taught another day.

“I didn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t go back to be with kids. Too many memories of Tyler’s childhood. It was tough,” she said.

On Saturday, she plans to talk about his personality, how he got along with people, how he treated others. A favorite expression of Tyler’s that explained his outlook on life was “peace, love and positivity.”

Tyler Rushing

“Those were his words that he would write or say when greeting someone or saying goodbye. More of a parting phrase than anything,” she said.

Among those expected to attend Saturday’s memorial will be 17-year-old Gabriel Sanchez of Elk Grove, the son of Gabe Sanchez. Gabriel Sanchez was 10 when his father was shot to death by Chico police officer Mark Bass.

Dave Waddell is writing a book about law enforcement killings in Butte County.

13 thoughts on “Saturday event recalls people killed by police Memorial brings 7 families together on fifth anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death

  1. The photo of Tyler Rushing shows a beautiful young man. Too sad that he was shot dead, never to be able to live out his young life.
    The police are NOT supposed to be the judge, jury and executioner. They’re supposed to APPREHEND suspected people, not shoot them dead on the spot. Who trains new Chico cops? Isn’t lethal force supposed to be the LAST resort? Many questions to be answered . . .

    1. Here’s a thought Karen, research the facts regarding the entire incident before judging the actions of the Police Officer or Deputies who must make life and death decisions. No Police Officer or Deputy wants to kill people, it is the last thing they want to do. The use of force is determined by the actions of the people who being investigated. When that person becomes an imminent threat of serious injury or death to the Officer, or others it may become necessary to use leathal force to stop that threat. Learn the facts. Don’t depend on a left wing radical to describe accurately the events. This person has an agenda and would skew the event to make a political point.

      1. Mr. Parker. The officers who killed Tyler had numerous less lethal options but chose lethal force after their tactics escalated the plan to get Ty medical attention into a killing when Sgt. Ruppel decided to sic a K9 officer on a wounded blood soaked suspect. Tyler deserved medical attention and his day in court…not to be bitten, choked, shot in the trachea from 2” away and the back of his head with the barrel of the gun pressed to the back of his head while being held by two officers. Finally he got 50,000 volts from a taser on his backside as he lay face down in his own blood clinging to life. The medical expert I hired to review the wounds inflicted on Ty were, in his words, the “final blow” which ended Tyler’s life. The police are required to respond with equal force to the force used against them by a suspect. Tyler did not attack the officers …he was attacked. This is called the Continuum of Force. These are the facts. My agenda is to force your law enforcement agencies to be truthful and transparent.

      2. “Don’t depend on a left wing radical to describe accurately the events. This person has an agenda and would skew the event to make a political point.”
        The only person playing politics is YOU. The only person to stoop to name calling is you.
        “Left wing radical…” No one buys this sort baiting and bs anymore. Your “logical” argument makes for good comedy.

      3. Taxpayers’ money pays for the police. The police should be community-centered, cordial, & helpful. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for police officers to kill their children. Police shouldn’t be killing taxpayer’s children. That’s not the America we love, that is heinous & terrifying. People should seek an attorney if their loved one is killed by a police officer, and the attorney should file a lawsuit. By making the city pay, the police will dispense with their old, trigger-happy, macho guy culture & help the city become a better community.

        1. “Money can talk”…a quote from Professor Franklin of UC Berkeley Law School and a world-famous expert on police in America and worldwide. His latest book, “Why Police Kill,” examines why protecting, and serving civilians is lost in the current culture of police department administration, training, and supervising. Zimring’s primary strategy to change the dangerous behavior of police… to reduce their killing of civilians …is that large jury monetary awards to the families of victims wrongfully killed by police will get the attention of the municipalities and police chiefs to be motivated to avoid the fiscal pain of police wrongfully using lethal force…in my words… losing taxpayer money will affect change in policing…not doing the ethical things to reduce the unnecessary killing of citizens.

    1. Yes, Lavell Proctor is a case a few of us in the community were following in the early 2000’s. He was unarmed and shot in front of his house and neighbors reported that his body was left on the pavement for an extended time. Very disrespectful. We attended a meeting with DA Ramsey who explained to us that Lavell used his vehicle as a deadly weapon as he was trying to get away when asked why they could not have shot out the tires. Instead the officers posted outside his house and shot into the vehicle killing him instantly.

    2. Hi Juanita
      I did not forget Lavell because the list of civilians, 37 thus far, shot down by “peace officers” in Butte County during the reign of DA Ramsey is so extensive I had to limit my invitation to the families I was able to contact personally. In short, I will be continuing to reach out to the other families missed in the Memorial Service of those killed by “peace officers.” For the record, here is the list, including Lavell:
      Adam Lopez, 58, BCSO
      Scott Daniel Giguiere, 44, Oroville PD, by officer James Roberts
      Billy Joe Lambert, 59, Gridley PD
      Jose Antonio Z. Reyes, 27, BCSO
      Porfirio Gutierrez, 18, Gridley PD, by officer James Roberts
      Richard Bracklow, 46, BCSO
      Luis Diaz Jr., 24, Chico PD
      Martin Cardenas Baez, 40, BCSO
      Jose Cardenas Casillas, 36, BCSO
      Lavell Terran Proctor, 26, Chico PD
      Nathan Butts, 20, Five officers from Chico PD, including Mark Bass and Scott Ruppell
      Chad Terrio, 22, BCSO
      David Linn, 41, BCSO, Deputy Jason Piazza
      Eric Ethen Smith, 40, BCSO
      Daniel Quick, 43, BCSO
      Rebecca Stebbins, 31, Gridley-Biggs PD
      Bartyn Pitts IV, 39, Fish and Game Warden
      Darlene Stace, 48, Paradise PD
      Stephen Bell, 58, Five officers from Chico PD
      Christian Valdez, 18, CHP
      Wayne Renner, 49, Chico PD
      Wayne Oxley, 50, BCSO
      Sengaroune Silaphanh, 35, BCSO, Deputy Jason Piazza
      Breanne Sharpe, 19, Chico PD
      Victor Ray Coleman, 53, Oroville PD
      Cory Lee Bush, 24, BCSO
      Eddie Gabriel Sanchez, 34, Chico PD officer Mark Bass
      Andrew Thomas, 26, Paradise PD officer Patrick Feaster*
      Robert Battaglia, 29, BCSO
      Desmond Phillips, 25, Chico PD officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin
      Tyler Scott Rushing, 34, Chico PD officers Scott Ruppel and Alex Fliehr
      Mark Jensen, 56, BCSO
      Larry Siordia, 33, BCSO
      Myra Michalizio, 56, BCSO
      GD Hendrix, 48, BCSO, two deputies, including Josh Brazzi
      Richard Moulton, 52, BCSO, nine deputies, including Josh Brazzi
      Stephen Vest, 30, Chico PD
      * Feaster was initially exonerated by DA Ramsey, but upon the death of Andrew Thomas and the release of dash camera video DA Ramsey caved and filed manslaughter charges against Feaster, who was convicted and served 90 days in county jail.

    3. Yes, Lavell Proctor’s killing should be remembered. I just submitted a Public Records Act request on Proctor’s killing and was told by the City that the records were purged about 10 years after the 2005 killing. Such purging is done as a matter of routine and is not unusual for law enforcement agencies up here. From what I’ve read of it, sounds like Proctor’s killing could be added to the “unjustified” pile.

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