Did cop who killed Gabe Sanchez call him ‘piece of shit’? Sanchez’s brother says Mark Bass made comment during recent confrontation

by Dave Waddell
posted March 11

Eddie “Gabe” Sanchez, who was shot dead in 2015 by Chico police Sgt. Mark Bass, was called “a piece of shit” by Bass during a confrontation last week at a Paradise restaurant, claims Sanchez’s brother.

photo by Dave Waddell
Daniel Sanchez

The Sanchez family has a wrongful death lawsuit pending in federal court against Bass, the Chico Police Department and City of Chico over the killing.

The verbal dust-up between Bass and Daniel Sanchez, Gabe’s younger brother, occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 28 at the Cozy Diner Bar and Grill on the Skyway.

Daniel Sanchez, 39, said he and his wife, Nicole, were waiting to be seated at the same time Bass, apparently accompanied by his two sons, was at a cash register paying. Sanchez said that when Bass asked his sons for help reading their bill, Sanchez remarked that Bass could see well enough to kill someone but not make out the price on a check.

Sanchez said Bass may not have heard that comment but did notice he was being stared at.

“I was mad-dogging him pretty much,” prompting Bass to ask Sanchez whether he had “a staring problem,” Sanchez said in an interview the day after the incident.

“You don’t know me, but I know you, and I know what you did,” Sanchez said he told Bass.

According to Sanchez, Bass then said he was just trying to have a meal with his two sons.

“My father would love to be able to have lunch with his two boys, too,” Sanchez said he replied.

“And that’s when (Bass) said, ‘Oh, I know who you are. Your brother was a piece of shit,’” Sanchez said.

“And you’re a fucking murderer,” Sanchez said he responded.

Bass then claimed that Gabe Sanchez had pointed a gun at him, before exiting the restaurant.

According to Daniel Sanchez, Bass’ sons, who are in their twenties, both kept telling him the same thing: “Fuck around and find out.” Sanchez said he heard that phrase about 10 times and often enough that it was “on repeat in my head” the following day.

Sanchez said Bass’ facial expression and body language suggested he was proud of his sons’ actions.

At one point during the exchange between Bass and Sanchez, Cozy Diner staff threatened to call the police, Sanchez said. When the Sanchezes had finished their meal, they learned that a diner who saw the confrontation had anonymously paid their tab, Sanchez said.

Gabe Sanchez was two years older than Daniel. Their father, Eddie Sanchez, after discussing the Feb. 28 incident with his son and Cozy Diner staff, said he was proud Daniel didn’t get in Bass’ face when the off-duty sergeant made the alleged “piece of shit” comment.

Neither Bass not Chico Police Chief Billy Aldridge answered multiple requests to respond to Daniel Sanchez’s allegations about Bass’ and his sons’ words.

Nicole Sanchez said her husband’s account of his exchange with Bass is accurate.

“… if I knew they were going to kill him, I would have never told them” — Daniel Sanchez

At the time he was killed, Gabe Sanchez was a suspect in two armed robberies after his face was recognizable in an image from a store’s security camera that was televised. According to public records, both Daniel Sanchez, as well as the Sanchez brothers’ mother, Mary Romero, separately alerted Chico PD to Gabe’s identity and whereabouts in an effort to end his criminal activity and get him safely taken into custody.

Asked for his current perspective on his decision to call the police, Daniel Sanchez said: “I wish I didn’t kill my brother. I mean, if I knew they were going to kill him, I would have never told them. I thought I was doing the right thing and an hour later my brother was dead. What are you going to put in your own head about that?”

Romero died at age 63 in January. Sanchez family members say her son’s killing took a heavy toll on her health in the years that followed.

According to court declarations made by Bass’ former wife, Bass has a history of domestic violence -– allegations Bass denied to the court during their divorce proceedings. Prior to killing Sanchez, Bass was involved in a previous fatal shooting along with four other Chico officers.

There were two non-police eyewitnesses to the Nov. 10, 2015, killing of Sanchez. Both told investigators Sanchez was not holding a gun and was running away when Bass, then a detective, shot him twice in the side of the face. One of those witnesses said she saw a police officer, after Sanchez was shot down, lift his shirt and pull a handgun out of a holster at his waist.

In a videotaped interview, Bass showed investigators how he claimed Sanchez was facing him directly and aiming a handgun at him with both hands.

However, Seth Stoughton, an ex-cop and one of the nation’s foremost experts on police uses of force, said the nature of Sanchez’s wounds seem “to contradict the assertion that the individual who was shot was standing in the manner Det. Bass demonstrated.”

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey quickly exonerated Bass in a report that never mentions the accounts of the non-police eyewitnesses. Ramsey’s investigators interviewed Bass about the shooting for fewer than 35 minutes and never asked about any contradiction between Sanchez’s fatal wounds and Bass’ story.

Dave Waddell is a contributing writer to ChicoSol.

3 thoughts on “Did cop who killed Gabe Sanchez call him ‘piece of shit’? Sanchez’s brother says Mark Bass made comment during recent confrontation

  1. Do ChicoSol readers agree with me that Sgt. Bass, and the Chico PD, owe a public apology to the Sanchez family? Unless Bass proves he did not call Gabriel Sanchez a “piece of shit?” in a public place to Daniel Sanchez, will Chief Aldridge and Mayor Coolidge do the right thing and discipline “peace officer” Bass?

    Were Gabriel’s killing and the resulting investigation …chock full of inconsistencies and contradictions… revealed by ChicoSol investigative journalist Dave Waddell, properly investigated by “top cop” and role model DA Ramsey and his cop buddies on the illusory “Protocol Team?” Are any investigations by DA Ramsey fair, thorough, and impartial? ChicoSol readers can easily answer that question.

    The Chico PD has a policy and procedures manual, written by the “LEXIPOL COMPANY,” which is written to protect officers…NOT THE CITIZENS OF CHICO… that has a “Standards of Conduct” policy, 339.3.2, under the heading, “Conduct Towards Others,” that requires CPD officers to do the following: “a professional bearing shall be maintained regardless of the provocation to do otherwise.”

    Do Sgt Bass’ demeanor and profanity reveal that he should never interact with the public and that he is in the wrong profession? I say his actions were confrontational, insensitive, a violation of CPD policy, and simply appalling.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with Scott Rushings last paragraph..Bass is an embarrassment to the Chico P.D. and anybody who defends him should have their integrity checked!his complete lack of compassion & respect for human life is unexcusable!!

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