FAIRFIELD – The Solano County District Attorney’s Office has re-hired a former Vallejo police officer who resigned from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office shortly after a news report revealed he had been involved in a street fight in Oregon where he allegedly choked a man unconscious as a then-Vallejo sergeant stuck a gun in the man’s face, according to records obtained by the Vallejo Sun.
Kevin Coelho re-joined the DA’s investigations bureau on Oct. 12, Solano County DA’s supervising investigator Aaron Dillon confirmed in an email. “The Investigations Bureau is aware of an incident that occurred in Bend, Oregon in 2014,” Dillon wrote. According to a message on his voicemail, Coelho is a cold case homicide investigator.
Coelho was previously an investigator in the Solano DA’s office from 2015-2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. Since May 2019, he had been a senior inspector in the human trafficking unit of the Contra Costa County DA’s office, but resigned from that position on Feb. 18, less than a month after The Appeal revealed his involvement in the fight in Oregon.
The Contra Costa DA’s office did not respond to questions about the reason for his departure.
The Oregon fight happened on Sept. 17, 2014, when Coelho was out drinking with another former Vallejo police officer, Kevin McCarthy, and then-Vallejo police Sgt. Michael Kent Tribble at the Summit Saloon in Bend.
Two men, Stuart Epps and Dustin Pomeroy, encountered the group from Vallejo that night. They later testified in a Solano County courtroom that the three officers had stared at a third friend's then-fiancée, and when the friend said something about it, Tribble shoved him backwards.
Later, Epps and Pomeroy encountered the officers on their way to another bar. The two men testified that the officers pummeled Epps to the ground, with Coelho putting him in a chokehold until he was unconscious and Tribble pointing a gun in his face.
Cell phone video shows Tribble later standing over Epps, who remained unconscious on the sidewalk. “Fuck you, you little pussy,” Tribble yelled as he walked away.
Bend police let everyone go and no one involved in the incident faced criminal charges. Epps told The Appeal that a Vallejo police Internal Affairs investigator later apologized to him, but Epps was never told if Tribble was disciplined for his role in the incident.
Tribble was later promoted to lieutenant, but left Vallejo police shortly after The Appeal reported about the Oregon fight and other allegations of excessive force against him.
Coelho first joined the Vallejo Police Department in 1988. During his 25 years in the department, he was a SWAT team member and supervised the FBI joint task force, the narcotics unit, the patrol division and the major crimes unit, according to a retirement notice in a city report from 2013.
Coelho was also involved in at least two shootings while a Vallejo police officer. The first was in 2005, when he and Officer Matthew McCrea shot and killed Douglas Hahn. The Solano County DA’s office cleared the officers of criminal charges a year later, writing that Hahn was in an “agitated state” and “armed with two knives” when police shot him.
On April 13, 2012, Coelho and Tribble were attempting to catch David Carlos Webb, who was suspected of robbing a cannabis dealer at gunpoint. Vallejo police set up a second purchase time and assigned an undercover detective to pose as an associate of the victim.
Webb fled and during the pursuit, Coelho and Tribble both fired at him, but Webb escaped. Coelho later told investigators that he saw the suspect pull a silver handgun from his waistband. Webb later arrived at a hospital in Fairfield with a gunshot wound in his shoulder. Webb was convicted of two counts of robbery. The shooting was one of nine by Vallejo officers in 2012.
After his last stint with the Solano County DA’s office, Coelho was a police advisor with DynCorp International — a private military contractor that, among other contracts, trained police forces of Iraq and Afghanistan — and an investigator with Crutcher and Associates Resource Group in San Francisco, which provides bodyguard services, background checks and corporate internal investigations.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Solano County
- Solano County District Attorney's Office
- Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office
- Kevin Coelho
- Aaron Dillon
- Krishna Abrams
- Kevin McCarthy
- Kent Tribble
- The Appeal
- Stuart Epps
- Dustin Pomeroy
- Vallejo Police Department
- Matthew McCrea
- Douglas Hahn
- David Carlos Webb
Scott Morris is a journalist based in Oakland who covers policing, protest, civil rights and far-right extremism. His work has been published in ProPublica, the Appeal and Oaklandside.
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