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By Mike Fagans
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By Alex Horvath / The Californian
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By Photo courtesy of the family
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The following account — from witnesses, county officials and investigative reports — is a timeline of events surrounding the death of 33-year-old David Sal Silva on May 8.
All times are approximate:
TUESDAY, MAY 7
3 p.m.: Silva is last seen by his girlfriend, walking from their residence, she later tells authorities, according to a coroner’s report. She said Silva constantly picked fights with her and she asked him to leave.
5 p.m.: Silva’s mother, Mary Silva, last talks to him, she later tells investigators, the report states. She said she smelled alcohol on him and that he told her he was in an argument with his girlfriend. The mother advises him to get help at Kern Medical Center.
In an interview with The Californian on Monday, Mrs. Silva denied speaking to an investigator about her son.
10:20 p.m.: Silva arrives at KMC’s emergency department and requests directions to the nearby Mary K. Shell Mental Health Center, according to hospital CEO Paul Hensler. Silva declines to be seen by a physician.
11:25 p.m.: A KMC security guard sees Silva lying on grass between the Shell center and a personnel trailer. Guard tells Silva he can’t sleep there and escorts him off the property toward Flower Street.
11:36 p.m.: Guard sees Silva lying on the ground across Flower Street from KMC and fearing for his well-being, calls the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
11:38 p.m.: Sheriff’s Office receives a report of a person, later identified as Silva, possibly intoxicated and lying on the ground at Flower Street and Palm Drive, according to Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
11:55 p.m.: Also per Youngblood: First sheriff’s deputy arrives and attempts to wake an unconscious Silva, who more than once gets up on his knees to get up but falls over and lands on his face. While being helped by the deputy, Silva takes a rigid stance, behaves as someone under the influence of narcotics as opposed to someone who was just under the influence of alcohol.
Silva resists arrest and deputy releases canine from car. Dog bites Silva several times.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8
About six minutes later: Second deputy arrives, according to Youngblood. First deputy has already struck Silva with a baton twice. Second deputy strikes Silva several times. Silva picks up the dog by the throat. Second deputy strikes Silva to get him to let go of canine.
Seven minutes into incident: Third deputy arrives, according to the sheriff, and uses the baton twice. He’s the last of the authorities to strike Silva with a baton. Silva keeps fighting, bucking deputies who try to hold him down and trying to kick them.
About a minute later: Two California Highway Patrol officers arrive, Youngblood says, and attempt to help deputies control Silva. Deputy asks them to get a hobble to control his kicking. Officer brings it over. Deputies four and five arrive. As authorities start to get control, deputies six and seven arrive.
Also at about midnight: Sulina Quair, 34, standing near Flower and Palm, dials 911 in an attempt to stop the confrontation between Silva and law enforcement, she says.
Ruben Ceballos, 19, is awakened by screams and loud banging noises outside his home, he says.
Sally Dorset, 61, is awakened by yelling outside and out a window sees a sheriff’s car outside, she says. She opens the front door and sees a man on the ground and a deputy yelling at him to stay down and beating him with a baton.
A couple minutes later, more deputies arrive and they all start hitting the man on the floor. The man is yelling and moaning in pain, but the blows to his body continue. Suddenly, the man gets quiet and Dorset thinks, “I hope he is not dead.”
12:11 a.m.: Hall Ambulance arrives on scene, coroner’s report says. Silva is on his side, facing south on Palm. His upper body is on the sidewalk and lower body on the curb and street. Silva has no pulse.
12:26 a.m.: Hall Ambulance delivers Silva, who shows no cardiac activity on a monitor, to KMC, with resuscitation efforts in progress.
12:44 a.m.: KMC doctor pronounces Silva dead.
3 a.m.: Friends Melissa Quair and Francisco Arrieta receive a call from Quair’s sister Sulina that detectives are on their way to her home. According to Melissa Quair, detectives barge in and shut the door while demanding Arrieta give up his cell phone, which is believed to have video of the Silva incident on it.
Quair and Arrieta ask to see a search warrant. Deputies say one’s on its way. After some back-and-forth, the detectives put on gloves and tell the couple they could do things the easy way or hard way.
Arrieta is tired and needs to rest before going to work at 8 a.m. so he gives up his phone.
4 a.m.: Detectives seize Arrieta’s phone.
10 a.m.: Maria Melendez, 52, Quair’s mother, shows up at her daughter’s home and is confronted by the same two detectives who tell her to turn over her phone, also believed to have video of the incident on it. She says she isn’t turning anything in without a search warrant and is told the warrant is coming.
10:30 a.m.: Quair calls attorney John Tello to come and help the family because it’s feeling harassed by law enforcement.
11 a.m.: Tello arrives at Quair’s residence. He tries to talk to Melendez privately, in a separate room, but is stopped by a detective who tells him that he cannot go anywhere with Melendez or the phone. Tello is told the search warrant is on its way.
11:37 a.m.: Search warrant is presented to Tello but it includes the phone that was seized at 4 a.m.
Later, at a May 23 press conference, Youngblood stresses the deputies were only at the residence for two hours, 29 minutes the first time and two hours, 11 minutes the second time. He strongly rejects the notion anyone was held hostage, that the people were free to leave at any time but couldn’t take the cell phones away because they possibly contained evidence.
“The courts will rule whether we acted correctly or whether we did not, I’m sure,” Youngblood said.