Created: 04/10/2014 6:31 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The Department of Justice refused to specify which police shootings they consider unjustifiable – but they did zero in on a half a dozen cases as examples of killings that went wrong.
In three cases, the DOJ says the men who got shot did not pose an imminent threat to anybody. One was a threat only to himself, and two were cases of police “recklessness” that led to the use of deadly force.
Case one: Andrew Lopez, Feb. 2009. Shot after a low speed car chase initiated because he did not have his lights on at night. Officer Justin Montgomery fires three times at Lopez as he flees on foot, dropping him with one bullet. Montgomery then fires into Lopez’ chest, killing him. Lopez was unarmed.
Case two: Dominic Smith, Oct. 2009. Shot after a drugstore robbery. Smith refuses to comply with police commands. Officer Jacob Welch shoots him. Smith was unarmed.
Case three: Alan Gomez, May, 2011. Shot during a domestic standoff. Officer Sean Wallace shoots Gomez, who was unarmed.
Case four: Kenneth Ellis III, Jan. 2010. Shot while holding a gun to his own head. Ellis was a PTSD Iraq war veteran suspected of car theft. Officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba shoots Ellis.
Case five: Daniel Tillison, Mar. 2012. Shot trying to escape in his car during a stolen goods bust. Officer Martin Smith shoots Tillison, who was unarmed.
Case six: Mickey Owings, Mar. 2010. Shot trying to escape in his car during a car theft bust. Officer Kevin Sanchez shoots Owings, who was unarmed.
The DOJ specified these cases, so we asked Police Chief Gorden Eden and Mayor Richard Berry what will happen to the officers who pulled the triggers.
“The question I have to find out the answer to is will they share with us what other investigations they’re looking at before I make any statement about what the future holds for any other officers,” Eden said.
“They’ll tell us or they won’t,” said Berry. “We understand that and we’ll respect that.”
We asked APD about the status of those six officers – are they still on the force and on duty? Do they carry guns? We received no response. We know Thursday was a busy day for the Police department but we are still asking and we will continue to ask.