Following up on a story we brought you not too long ago. It was covered on our blog here.
No big shock here. They were cleared of all wrongdoing. No justice for Kenneth Muñoz.
YUCAIPA: Fatal officer-involved shooting declared justified
BY RICHARD BROOKS STAFF WRITER January 31, 2013; 07:03 PM
Two deputies were legally justified in fatally shooting a 31-year-old Yucaipa man more than a year ago after he resisted arrest and disarmed a third deputy whose pistol went off during the struggle, prosecutors say.
Kenneth Paul Munoz Jr. died at the scene of the nighttime shooting Oct. 26, 2011, along the 35200 block of Avenue B.
He suffered 12 bullet wounds, an autopsy surgeon determined. At the time of his death, his blood contained several drugs, including methamphetamine, opiates and hydrocodone, lab tests showed.
Deputies were summoned to the family home by a man who reported that his son — Munoz — was refusing to give him his vehicle, sheriff’s investigators said soon after the shooting.
“This is a case that should have ended with the return of the truck … and an amicable resolution of the dispute,” Chief Deputy San Bernardino County District Attorney Karen Bell said in a 12-page report released Thursday, Jan. 31.
But when deputies tried to persuade him to return the truck, Munoz refused and ran away, escalating the family disturbance into a police chase, the use of a Taser, a bean-bag shotgun and, ultimately, deadly gunfire, Bell wrote.
“When Kenneth Jr. finally stopped and laid face down on the ground in a yard, the chase seemed to be over,” she noted. “Unfortunately, … he fought the arresting officer and got control of his gun.
“Kenneth Jr. left them little alternative but to use their last tool — deadly force.”
Deputy Ismael Diaz and Sgt. Michael O’Brien opened fire with their pistols, according to the report.
The deputy who was disarmed — identified in the report as J. Perea — told investigators he was surprised when Munoz jumped up and hit him while he was handcuffed.
After recovering his .45-caliber Glock 21 pistol, Perea tried to fire the weapon, but the ammunition magazine had fallen out, leaving it inoperable, he told investigators.
An examination of Perea’s holster showed that it was intact and hadn’t been modified, but was weakened.
“The top strap of the holster, called the hood, holds the firearm in the holster,” Bell wrote. “Upon examination of the hood, it moved forward when moved only one-eighth inch, which should not occur.
“The holster appeared to be damaged by continual use.”