The death of a San Ramon man after he was pulled over by a CHP officer in North Concord on Aug. 18 was ruled a suicide by a jury Tuesday during a coroner's inquest in Martinez.
CHP officer John Ambler said in testimony that David Leon, 59, pulled the trigger of his small-caliber handgun on the right side of his head after Ambler asked him to step out of the car during the
Ambler said he pulled Leon over on suspicion of impaired driving as he headed east on Highway 4, but asked Leon to step out of the vehicle when the officer noticed a small "machette-like knife" and that Leon was tending to a wound on his left arm.
An autopsy revealed that Leon had traces of two anti-depressant medications and "a breakdown product" of cocaine in his system, according to testimony by county forensic pathologist Dr. Arnold Josselson, who performed the autopsy.
Testimony by Concord Police detective David Ishikawa revealed Leon was unable to continue work as a truck driver due to his driver's license being suspended in connection with a recent DUI charge.
In addition to Leon's unemployment, Ishikawa said, he was also likely depressed due to personal circumstances in his family life.
Ishikawa told Patch after the inquest that not enough evidence was available to determine what had happened to Leon's arm and why he had the weapons in his Honda Civic.
A coroner's inquest is standard procedure in any case that major injury takes place involving a law enforcement officer and a citizen of the county, even though Ambler did not fire his weapon.
The case was investigated by the CHP, Concord Police and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.