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Anaheim cop cleared in civilian shooting

March 17, 2009 12:41:16 PM PDT
The Anaheim police officer who shot and killed an innocent man last year will not faces any criminal charges. That officer was chasing burglary suspects when he opened fire on the victim.The investigation by the Orange County District Attorney's Office is complete and the police officer will not face any criminal charges. The one question that is yet to be answered, and authorities say will never be answered, is what was going through the mind of the victim? Why did he not drop the weapon when the police officer asked him to do that three times the night of the shooting?

Julian Alexander died nearly five months ago outside his home, shot by an Anaheim police officer. The actions of the 10-year-veteran have been in question since then.

"He was trying to protect the family," said Michelle Mooney, the 20-year-old shooting victim's mother-in-law, soon after the death.

Now the Orange County District Attorney's Office has finished its investigation. It's revealing the officer will not face criminal charges.

"It's a terrible thing for the victim's family," said O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "Our decision here, however, is strictly whether or not the police office committed a crime. And whether or not there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a crime, and there isn't."

Investigators outlined the series of events leading up to the shooting. It was dark, early in the morning. Julian Alexander heard noises outside. He grabbed a 3- to 4-foot long stick and confronted four juveniles believed to be involved in unrelated crimes nearby. The officers who were chasing the juveniles spotted Alexander with the four. The juveniles took off.

"He shouted to Mr. Alexander to drop the weapon at least three times. Mr. Alexander did not drop the stick and continued to walk directly towards him," said David Brent, senior deputy district attorney.

Authorities say Alexander was now 10 feet away. The officer, feeling threatened, then fired two bullets into Alexander's chest. Officials say the only witness to the shooting was the police officer.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter issued a statement:

"The incident is now under review by our Major Incident Review Team. They will be reviewing the District Attorney's report, along with our policies, the tactics and equipment used during the incident, and current training standards, as we do in all major use-of-force cases."

Authorities say that the police officer did have a Taser gun available to him, a non-lethal weapon. Why he didn't use it is still unclear. Chief Welter did express his deepest condolences to the family involved. He said because of pending lawsuits filed by Alexander's family he could not comment further.

Alexander's wife, Renee was pregnant with their child at the time and gave birth to the couple's daughter in December.

Alexander's parents have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Anaheim, claiming wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Alexander's wife filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of the couple's daughter, who was born six weeks after her father was shot and killed.


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