DA: Po­lice jus­ti­fied in deadly shoot­ing

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Page Two - By Amy Taxin

SANTA ANA — A South­ern Cal­i­for­nia po­lice of­fi­cer was jus­ti­fied in shoot­ing to death a man forced from his locked van by a gush­ing hose after he threat­ened to set him­self on fire, au­thor­i­ties said on Wed­nes­day.

After in­ves­ti­gat­ing the shoot­ing, the Orange County District At­tor­ney’s of­fice found that of­fi­cers had been ne­go­ti­at­ing with Michael An­thony Perez, 33, for about an hour to try to get him to exit the van and when he fi­nally did he reached for a knife on his hip.

“The mere fact that he’s say­ing he doesn’t want to get ar­rested, he doesn’t want to go to jail, he’s not go­ing to lis­ten to their com­mands, that doesn’t mean the po­lice of­fi­cers turn around and go home,” As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Ebrahim Baytieh told re­porters.

The report comes seven months after the dra­matic in­ci­dent cap­tured on cell­phone video by a by­stander in a strip mall park­ing lot in the city of Orange.

The district at­tor­ney’s of­fice re­leased ad­di­tional video Wed­nes­day as part of a new pol­icy aimed at in­creas­ing trans­parency. On that video, of­fi­cers are heard try­ing to coax Perez from the van.

Orange po­lice tried to pull over Perez on March 12 after see­ing he had a bro­ken tail­light and dis­cov­er­ing he had an ar­rest war­rant stem­ming from driv­ing with­out a valid li­cense, Baytieh said.

Perez, who had prior weapons and drug charges, re­sisted but even­tu­ally stopped in the park­ing lot of a mall that in­cluded a 24hour laun­dry.

Po­lice tried to ne­go­ti­ate with Perez, who had a gas can in­side the van and lit a cig­a­rette and threat­ened to start a fire. Of­fi­cers turned on a fire hose in­side the van and a shirt­less Perez can be seen on video climb­ing out the driver’s side win­dow.

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