Eyewitness News investigates the officer involved shooting that killed a Madera County man. 62 year old Gilbert “Jake” Vanderburgh was killed last Thursday. Now, a woman who says she was inside of the home when Vanderburgh died wants to share what she believed happened.Amanda Sullivan told our investigative reporter not only was she inside of Vanderburgh’s home, but she was the reason deputies were there, as one of the suspects in the stolen car that authorities were following. She says she was hiding inside of Vanderburgh’s home and says he was an innocent man who didn’t deserve to die.
Amanda Sullivan, suspect in stolen car, “We were running out of gas and we knew Jake.”
“Jake”, a man also known as Gilbert Jake Vanderburgh; a 62 year old man who was laid to rest Thursday morning – the man shot twice and killed by a Fresno County deputy one week ago.
“He wouldn’t ever hurt anybody ever. What he was doing was defending his property; his land,” says Sullivan.
Vanderburgh was also protecting Amanda Sullivan.
“I do feel as if it’s my fault,” says Sullivan.
The 25 year old says she was inside of the stolen truck driven by wanted parolee Kyle Snipes. She says they had been followed for miles by Fresno County deputies last Thursday morning, until she says the truck ran out of house right in front of Vanderburgh’s home. Authorities say they don’t believe the truck ran out of gas.
According to Sullivan, Vanderburgh was a long time family friend. She says her mom even took care of him and brought him grocery shopping once a month.
Sullivan says after the truck stopped, she became scared by what she alleges deputies were shouting.
“They had said stop or we’ll shot. We’ll shoot,” says Sullivan.
But Sullivan ignored police, and says she jumped out of the car and ran down to Vanderburgh’s front door, where she knocked and yelled for Vanderburgh to open up. After no answer, Sullivan says she dove through the glass of this now boarded up window and told Vanderburgh what was going on. For the next two hours, she says Vanderburgh lied to deputies, denying that anyone else was inside the home.
“They had asked him at one point if we go in there are they going to shoot us and he said yeah,” says Sullivan.
After 20 minutes of silence, Sullivan says she and Vanderburgh, who were now both in his bedroom, thought deputies were gone. She says Vanderburgh went to grab her a soda, using his rifle as a cane for a bad leg, and was shot and killed as he walked out of his bedroom.
Sullivan says, “He never pointed any gun. He wasn’t even involved in it.”
According to authorities, Vanderburgh did brandish his weapon.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says, “At one point he pointed the rifle outside the window at law enforcement and a deputy sheriff fired his rifle.”
During our investigation, we called the Roseville Police Department and found that when snipes was arrested on Monday in that city, Amanda was with him and was also arrested for providing a false name. We also went to the Fresno and Madera county courthouses to look up any criminal histories.
Snipes had an laundry list of offenses, and was a parole wanted on drug charges.
Sullivan had been convicted of DUI, vandalism, identity theft and burglary.
As for Vanderburgh, we were unable to find any criminal or even traffic infraction history that we in either county.
Sullivan says she has remorse for putting who she calls an innocent man in a deadly situation.
“I know that had I not been in that house, this wouldn’t have happened.”
The Madera County Sheriff’s office declined to speak about these claims due to a pending investigation.
For the complete video, click the link below.
|Chowchilla News Day
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