The San Diego County grand jury is investigating the circumstances surrounding the February shooting of a Cardiff political activist by a sheriff's deputy.
"I got a phone call from the head of the grand jury this week, and (he) said they were looking into the matter," said Wayne Holden, president of the Cardiff Town Council. "We're very gratified by that."
For weeks, the group has sought an independent investigation into the Feb. 18 shooting death of Paul Reynolds at a North County gas station.
"The grand jury is also continuing its investigation into the deadly use of force by area law enforcement officers," Holden said.
Meanwhile, toxicology tests completed this week show that Reynolds had a trace of lithium in his blood when he was shot once in the neck by Deputy Jeffrey Jackson at a gas station near his home.
Authorities said Reynolds had been acting strangely at the station and had threatened several people in the early morning before the deputy was summoned.
After complying with an order to lie on the pavement, Reynolds swung at the approaching deputy with a small rigging knife, officials said. He was shot once in the neck. The deputy has since been reassigned.
Holden said the tests prove that Reynolds had been taking medication for a manic-depressive condition, as his widow, Jeanette, and friends have claimed.
"He had gone off the medication, but he started up again five days before," Holden said. "It was tough for Jeanette to get him to take the medication because he enjoyed the highs of his manic condition.
"But he was on the medication at the time of his death."
The toxicology tests also showed no measurable amount of alcohol or drugs, medical examiner officials confirmed Friday.
"That's what we have been saying," Holden said. "On the night of his death, Paul had one beer, a Budweiser, at 11:15 p.m. at Yogi's Sports Bar. We have confirmed that from a bartender and witnesses.
"Then he went home for a time and showed up at the station more than an hour later. By that time, the alcohol would have worn off."
Holden said Reynolds' friends and family are heartened by the results of the tests.
"It just throws water on the idea that he was out of control, lunging or going at this deputy," he said. "It doesn't mean that he might not have been manic. But not violent. Just energetic."
For weeks since the death of the 44-year-old sailor, swimmer and community activist, fellow Town Council members have tried to solicit interest in the case from public officials--to provide an outside look at the shooting and the use of deadly force by a sheriff's deputy.
In the meantime, Holden said, community members have moved a step closer to better relations with the Sheriff's Department, with whom they contract for regular police services.
Soon, he said, local residents will begin regular living-room sessions, meeting with officers who patrol their neighborhoods.
"It's a step in the right direction," Holden said. "We will get their expert opinion on the things to be done to prevent this tragedy from happening again."