January 29, 2012. The Los Angeles Times reports that a law enforcement officer under investigation for sexual misconduct with a teenager was shot and killed by fellow officers while he was on duty. The officers were attempting to arrest him Saturday as they tried to arrest him in Santa Maria, a city north of Los Angeles, authorities said.
This very unusual and unprecedented tragedy shocked law enforcement as well as the community. It was necessary for officers to shoot in self defense after the suspect officer first discharged his weapon.
Officers were sent to make a felony arrest, but the officer resisted arrest (a violation of Penal Code Section 148(a)(1)) and struggled when they arrived. He allegedly first physically resisted, then fired his gun without striking anyone. After the suspect officer fired his weapon, he was then shot in the chest. He was declared dead after emergency surgery at Marian Medical Center, Santa Maria police Chief Danny Macagni said in a statement. Under California Penal Code Seciton 197, This act on the part of the Los Angeles Police arresting officers amounted to Justifiable Homicide.
It was reported that the suspect officer was a four year Santa Maria Police Department veteran. The department learned of an internal investigation of an alleged sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl (Presumably a violation alleging Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Person Under 18 pursuant to Penal Code 261.5) and it became necessary to arrest him immediately, Macagni said. It was reported that authorities intended on filing multiple felony charges after the arrest.
While the specific nature of the sex crime was not disclosed, reportedly investigators had evidence "that demanded that we go out and take this officer off the street immediately." It was reported that detectives had begun investigating the alleged relationship, and minutes before the shooting had confirmed that an "inappropriate" and "very explicit" relationship had developed, the police chief said.
"The information that we had in hand demanded that we not let him leave that scene, get in a car, drive somewhere, it would put the public at risk," Macagni said at the news conference. "We just did not know what was going to happen, we did not expect him to react the way that he did."
Supervising officers were sent to make a felony arrest, but he struggled with them when they arrived, first putting up a physical fight, then firing his gun but hitting no one, Macagni said.
Had the suspect officer been successfully arrested, it is likely that in addition to various sex crime charges, he would have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest and possibly other violent crime charges.
If you have been arrested and alleged to have committed a felony, either sexual nature or Homicide in nature, you need an experienced Southern California criminal defense team to lead you into the court battle of your life. Contact David A. Welch so that we can review the fact of your case and together establish the best possible defense.