Criminal Investigation at SSU

May 13, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions can be found by visiting the FAQ page.

Update May 14, 2018 10:00 A.M.

News Release: President’s Statement and News Update on Homicide Investigation

Sonoma State University President Judy K. Sakaki issued the following statement in response to the homicide that occurred on campus on Sunday, May 13, 2018:

“All of us at Sonoma State are shocked and saddened by this tragic event.

Our hearts go out to all of those who have been impacted. I’m grateful for our leadership team and how our campus has come together to ensure our students are safe, housed and cared for.

Our campus remains open as usual.  Finals are taking place this week with accommodations for any students who were impacted. 

Last night, we were able to make hotel rooms and dinner available for all students who were not able to get back into their residence halls because of the police investigation. All residential housing units are now open with the exception of the single unit where the incident occurred.

Counselors were immediately available on site to support students, providing psychological and emotional support. And that support will continue.  We have opened the NomaCares Center in the library, a one-stop shop to assist students, staff and faculty.  Also, our call center remains open.

The care and safety of our students are our top priority. And our focus today will be continuing to make sure we meet the needs of our students and campus community.”

According to Lt. Tim Lyons of the Petaluma Police Department, the lead investigating unit, neither the suspect nor the victim involved in this case were students at Sonoma State. The individual arrested has been identified as Tyler J. Bratton, 19, of Santa Rosa. The victim is a 26-year-old male Sonoma County resident whose identity is not being released pending notification of family members.

“We do not know as yet the motive in this case, but we can say that these individuals were acquaintances who were involved in some kind of dispute and altercation,” said Lyons. “At no point were other students at risk, but we are asking any individuals who may be witnessed something to contact the Petaluma Police Department.”

Witnesses should call 707-778-4372. Ask for Detective John Silva. For press inquires, contact Lt. Tim Lyons at 707-849-1229

The NomaCares Center will be open today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. in University Library 3001. Representatives from Counseling and Psychological Services, advising, Human Resources, and Faculty Affairs will be available to assist students, faculty and staff impacted by Sunday’s event and investigation.


Update 12:49 A.M.

Dear Campus Community,

In the wake of Sunday evening’s homicide on campus, we have made the following determinations in an effort to put health and wellness first during this stressful time:

Sonoma State remains open. Finals will proceed as scheduled.

Students who have been impacted by Sunday’s events and feel unable or unprepared to take a final exam, submit a final assignment, or attend class should contact his or her instructors as soon as possible to request an accommodation. Students who cannot access their instructors’ contact information should email with: your name, course title, time and day of the class, faculty name, and section number (if known) so this information can be relayed to the appropriate instructor. 

Faculty who have been impacted should notify their department chair if they are unable to meet their scheduled obligations. We also ask faculty to make reasonable accommodations for impacted students as much as possible in this difficult time.

Staff who have been impacted should notify their appropriate administrator if they are unable to attend to their normal work duties.

Student employees impacted by the events should contact their supervisor if they feel unable to come to work.

We will open the NomaCares Center in University Library

3001 on Monday to assist students, faculty, and staff.

As updates become available about the incident, we will continue to post updates to and official SSU social media (Facebook and Twitter).


Update 11:23 P.M.

We have developed a plan to provide overnight housing for students impacted by the police investigation in Sauvignon Village.

If you have been unable to return to your dorm room because of tonight’s police action and need housing, please go as soon as possible to the first floor of the Student Center. We will make sure you have a place to stay tonight.

Update 10:32 P.M.

Since the homicide occurred on campus earlier this evening, we have been working to ensure the safety and security of our residential students and staff.

We invite all campus residents to the Student Center, where counseling services and food are available, and where staff can help answer questions.

Students who live in the impacted residential communities will receive separate messages shortly about their housing for tonight. We also will communicate with the impacted students about their final exams to ensure their academic progress is not negatively impacted by the tragic turn of events on campus today.

The incident is under criminal investigation, which means that law enforcement will release information as it comes available. We will make every effort to keep the campus updated as information is released.

We will continue to post updates to and official SSU social media (Facebook and Twitter) as they become available. We also have established a call center for inquiries: 707-664-4390 or 707-664-4391. 


Original Story 8:43 P.M.

On May 13, 2018, David Dougherty, Interim Chief of Police issued this statement at 8:43 p.m.:

Sonoma State University is providing this information to inform the community of a homicide that occurred on campus earlier this evening.

At approximately 5:53 p.m. today, the Sonoma State University Police Department was informed that a male subject had been stabbed in the Sauvignon Village residential community. University Police and Fire Department personnel responded. Fire Department personnel determined at approximately 6:06 p.m. that the subject was deceased. A suspect was detained. Based upon the available information at that time, police determined there was no further threat to the student population and campus community.

Both individuals are college-aged males. We do not know at this point if they are students at Sonoma State.

The Petaluma Police Department has agreed to assist in the investigation. Grief counselors have been directed to the residential community locations to support students.

Updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Sonoma State University Incident Call Center: 707-664-4390 or 707-664-4391