Friday, October 07, 2005


Petaluma police shot suspect 27 times

Friday, October 7, 2005

A suspected child molester who was killed by Petaluma police last weekend was shot 27 times, according to autopsy results released Friday.

Five of the gunshots suffered by James Decosta, 72, could have proved fatal on their own, authorities said.

An autopsy Monday showed Decosta was shot in the head, neck, chest, abdomen, groin, left arm, left leg and right foot. Most of the bullet entry wounds were on the left side of his body, according to the coroner’s report.

Decosta was killed Saturday following a brief car chase with Petaluma police. The former Marine was being sought on a 1998 Sacramento County warrant that accused him of molesting three separate victims under 14.

Police said Decosta aimed a semi-automatic handgun at officers after they pulled the car he was driving over on Dynamic Street in an industrial park.

Santa Rosa police are conducting the investigation into the shooting. Five Petaluma officers are on routine administrative leave.