Homicides in 2016 include two deadly shootings by officers

During the final weeks of 2016 and into the new year, the Sentinel is taking a look back at the most newsworthy stories and newsmakers of the year. You can access the stories at santacruzsentinel.com/topic/newsmakers-2016.

SANTA CRUZ >> There is an active conversation in Santa Cruz County regarding law enforcement’s use of lethal force twice in 2016.

Some local residents have called for release of footage of the Santa Cruz police shooting of 32-year-old Sean Arlt, 32, about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at the 200 block of Chace Street. Arlt’s is one of two officer-involved shootings in Santa Cruz County designated a Sentinel newsmaker of 2016.

Police said Arlt threatened officers with a metal bow rake after authorities arrived because the Santa Cruz poet was causing a disturbance at the home of an acquaintance, pounding on the door and making threats.

Toxicology results showed Arlt had alcohol, cannabis and an antidepressant in his system when he was shot to death by a Santa Cruz police officer in the Westside neighborhood two blocks from the ocean.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office released footage and identified the officer — deputy Chris Vigil — who shot 15-year-old Luke Smith after authorities said he stabbed his father and uncle at the 800 block of Amesti Road in rural, quiet Corralitos.

The footage shows 13 minutes of negotiation with Smith. Officers fired Tasers and weighted foam rounds, and released a K-9 on Smith. At least one of the…

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