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Department of Justice Presents Results Of San Diego County Officer-Involved Shooting Review

Monday, May 7, 2007
Contact: (415) 703-5837

The California Department of Justice on Monday presented its review of four of the five San Diego district attorney's reviews of officer-involved shooting cases. In each of the cases, the San Diego District Attorney's Office concluded the shootings were justified and declined to bring charges. The Department of Justice's review of the district attorney's decisions finds that specific deputies acted without discriminatory animus and justifiably used deadly force either in self defense or in defense of others. The July 29, 2005 shooting of Jorge Ramirez in Vista remains under review by the department and the results of that inquiry will be announced when the matter is completed.

In February of this year, after the district attorney declined prosecution in these cases, the Coalition for Justice and El Grupo asked the Department of Justice to review the district attorney's decision, and the department agreed to do so. San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis and San Diego County Sheriff William Kolendar cooperated with the Department of Justice's review.

The Department of Justice agrees that the shooting was justified in each of the four cases in which the department's review has been completed.

In three of these cases the law enforcement officers, while lawfully performing their duties, were directly assaulted and faced possible death or great bodily injury. In the fourth, suspect Jesus Eduardo Manzo was believed to be armed and he resisted lawful arrest and was shot when he lunged directly at the deputy. Additionally, the Department of Justice noted that the four shootings each arose out of a unique set of circumstances, and that there was nothing which suggested discriminatory law enforcement practices, lack of training or excessive use of force.

The four cases are:

*Jesus Edurado Manzo: Shot by Deputy Lewis Schott on August 1, 2005 in Vista while attempting to flee from officers attempting a lawful detention. The shooting was justified under Penal Code Section 196, as necessary to overcome resistence to lawful process and in the discharge of a legal duty, and in self-defense.

*Jose Antonio Mendoza: Shot by Lt. Ray Rawlins and Sgt. Mike Nichols on March 7, 2005, at the Vista County Detention Facility, when Mendoza refused to surrender in response to a lawful order and assaulted Lt. Rawlins. The shooting was justified under Penal Code Section 196, resisting lawful arrest, and in self-defense and defense of others.

*Sergio Garcia-Vasquez: Shot by Deputy Shawn Aitken on July 28, 2005, inside a residence in Vista, when deputies responded to a co-resident's 9-1-1 domestic disturbance call and Garcia-Vasquez assaulted the responding officers with a deadly or dangerous weapon. The shooting was justified under Penal Code Section 196, as necessary to overcome resistence to the discharge of a lawful duty, and in defense of others.

*Gilberto Torres-Ramirez: Shot by Deputies Clayton Lisk and John Spach on May 15, 2005 in Vista, when deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call of shots fired and Torres-Ramirez, who matched the identity of the reported shooter, responded to the deputies' demand to show his hands, by turning and pointing a loaded revolver at the deputies. The shooting was justified self-defense and defense of other.

The Department of Justice's reviews are attached.

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2007-05-07_Vistareviewmemos.pdf189.03 KB

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