On Saturday, November 26, at approximately 2:40 pm, Chico Police Dispatch received multiple 911 calls regarding an armed subject threatening innocent bystanders near Sycamore Pool at One Mile Recreation area. It was reported that 39- year-old Chico resident Ralph DiCostanzo was armed with a knife and threatening innocent bystanders. With the information at hand, officers immediately responded and located DiCostanzo walking near Sycamore Pool. DiCostanzo was holding a knife with an exposed blade acting erratic, unpredictable, and violent. Officers used multiple de-escalation techniques; however, DiCostanzo was unresponsive and, at one point, aggressed toward officers with the knife in his hand. Due to the rapidly evolving, highly unpredictable, and dangerous situation, officers used several less-lethal force options to de-escalate and stop DiCostanzo’s violent behavior. Unfortunately, one less-lethal force option (TASER) was ineffective, and officers immediately transitioned (as they are trained) to another less-lethal force option (Bean Bag Shotgun). One officer fired two rounds at DiCostanzo striking him in the upper torso. The bean bag rounds had an immediate and desired effect. DiCostanzo was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. DiCostanzo was medically cleared and transported to the Butte County Jail, where he was booked for violation of 417(a) PC – (Brandishing a Deadly Weapon), 69 PC – (Threatening and Resisting a Police Officer), 148(a)(1) PC – (Resisting and Delaying a Police Officer), 243(b) – (Battery on an Officer) and 21510 PC – (Possession of a Switchblade).
This case is an excellent example of the continuous and extensive less lethal and de-escalation training Chico Police Officers receive to safely manage highly volatile and dangerous situations. The precision, critical thinking, and discipline of the officers on scene should be commended and recognized. Their actions resulted in the safe apprehension of a violent subject and protected the lives of the innocent bystanders in the park.
Location: One Mile Recreation area (Sycamore Pool)
Date/Time: 11/26/2022 at 2:40 pm
Supervisor: Sgt. Mike Williams
Watch Commander: Lieutenant Terry Tupper