LAPD of­fi­cer was 20 feet away when he opened fire in Costco

Lodi News-Sentinel - - STATE - By Richard Win­ton

LOS AN­GE­LES — The off-duty Los An­ge­les po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot an emo­tion­ally dis­abled man and wounded his par­ents at a Corona Costco was about 20 feet from the vic­tims when he opened fire, po­lice said.

The new de­tails come two days after the River­side dis­trict at­tor­ney an­nounced the of­fi­cer would not be charged in the deadly shoot­ing.

Ken­neth French, 32, was killed June 14 in a food-tast­ing line in­side the ware­house store by Of­fi­cer Sal­vador Sanchez. His par­ents, Rus­sell and Paola French, were wounded in the gun­fire. Sanchez’s at­tor­neys said French knocked the of­fi­cer to the ground for no rea­son, and Sanchez, who was hold­ing his tod­dler, had no choice but to re­spond with lethal force.

Sanchez fired 10 times, pros­e­cu­tors said. Corona po­lice of­fi­cials said he was “seated” when he opened fire.

“The ex­act dis­tance is un­known, but based on video and phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, the es­ti­mated gap was about 20 feet at the time of the shoot­ing,” Corona Po­lice Sgt. Chad Foun­tain said.

There were hopes that sur­veil­lance video from the store would help ex­plain what hap­pened. But the video — re­leased when Dis­trict At­tor­ney Mike Hestrin an­nounced Wed­nes­day that no charges would be filed in the case — pro­vided no clear-cut an­swers.

Hestrin played a por­tion of a low-qual­ity sur­veil­lance video, but the im­ages were grainy, and it was hard to de­ci­pher what was hap­pen­ing. The record­ing shows French, wear­ing a striped shirt, be­ing pulled along by a male fam­ily mem­ber in a dark shirt. The two men be­come en­tan­gled and fall to the ground, and a woman is seen ap­proach­ing them. Sanchez is barely vis­i­ble in the far-left frame.

Prior to the con­fronta­tion between Sanchez and French, pros­e­cu­tors said there was no pre­vi­ous in­ter­ac­tion between the two.

“It was out of the blue and un­ex­pected,” Hestrin said. “The of­fi­cer was hit in the back of the head while hold­ing a child in his hands.”

The dis­trict at­tor­ney’s anal­y­sis de­ter­mined 3.8 sec­onds elapsed between when Sanchez was knocked to the ground and he be­gan shoot­ing.

Ira Salz­man, one of Sanchez’s at­tor­neys, said Wed­nes­day that the grand jury de­ci­sion was a vin­di­ca­tion.

“My client was as­saulted and at­tacked, and what he did was ex­cus­able and rea­son­able un­der the law,” Salz­man said. “It is a ter­ri­ble tragedy. We have two sets of par­ents try­ing to pro­tect their child. Sal had no choice but to use deadly force to pro­tect his young son and him­self from as­sault.”

Paola and Rus­sell French said Thurs­day that they were shocked that no charges were filed against the man who killed their son.

They ques­tioned what ev­i­dence Hestrin pre­sented to a grand jury this month that formed the de­ci­sion not to file charges.

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