District Attorney: No charges in California store shooting

September 25, 2019 - 2:24 pm

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A grand jury declined to bring charges against an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill man who assaulted him in a Southern California Costco warehouse, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Wednesday.

Officer Salvador Sanchez, a seven-year veteran of the LAPD, opened fire on June 14, fatally shooting Kenneth French and injuring his parents, Russell and Paola French.

Hestrin said the results of the investigation were presented to a grand jury this month, and the panel declined to return charges.

Lawyers for Sanchez have said he acted in self-defense when French attacked him as he was holding his 1½ -year-old son during a shopping trip to the warehouse store in Corona. French knocked him to the ground, Sanchez's attorney David Winslow has said, and he briefly lost consciousness.

Believing his life and his son's life were in "immediate danger," Winslow has said, Sanchez fired his handgun. The LAPD is conducting an administrative inquiry into whether Sanchez followed the department's policies.

Dale Galipo, an attorney for the French family, has said Russell and Paola French were trying to explain to the officer that his son had a mental disability when shots rang out. French, 32, of Riverside, had been taken off his medication because of other health complications, which may have affected his behavior that night, Galipo has said.

Galipo has called it an "open-handed push or slap" to the policeman's back.

The family has filed a claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against Sanchez and the Los Angeles Police Department. A Riverside County judge has issued an order that keeps surveillance footage and cellphone video out of the public eye for one year because of the investigation.

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