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Family of Unarmed Man Shot by Sheriff's Deputy in Coachella Settles with County

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Coachella, CA -

The family of an unarmed man who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy in Coachella on Christmas Day 2014 has reached a $1.9 million settlement with Riverside County, an attorney confirmed Tuesday.

Omar Rodriguez, 35, was shot on the morning of Dec. 25, 2014, by Deputy Melissa Rodriguez, who was cleared in the shooting by the District Attorney's Office. The deputy told investigators that she responded to a Coachella home, where Rodriguez apparently attacked a resident, then struggled with Rodriguez over her baton, leading to the shooting.

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An attorney representing Rodriguez's family said the settlement was finalized during a Board of Supervisors meeting earlier this month and will be paid out to his minor child and parents.

A resident at a home in the 83600 block of Shadowrock Drive reported a stranger had entered and committed an unprovoked attack on that resident, according to sheriff's Sgt. Mike Manning.

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The deputy encountered Rodriguez in the roadway outside the residence, where he "refused to comply with commands from the officer and advanced toward her taking a fighting stance,'' the sergeant previously said.

Rodriguez continued moving toward the deputy despite her commands to stop, according to the sheriff's department. She attempted to protect herself from him with her baton and it was during a struggle for the baton that the deputy-involved shooting occurred, Manning said. Rodriguez died at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio.

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