CORONA, Calif (KABC) -- A federal jury in Riverside Wednesday awarded $17 million in damages to the family of a mentally disabled man who was fatally shot by an off-duty LAPD officer inside a Costco in Corona more than two years ago.
The panel ruled in a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles and the former officer in the June 14, 2019, killing of 32-year-old Kenneth French.
"The family is grateful for the jury's verdict and hoping that this can bring them some sense of justice and begin the healing process," Dale Galipo, an attorney for the family, said in a statement to Eyewitness News.
The jurors in the lawsuit trial concluded that Salvador Sanchez, a seven-year LAPD veteran, was acting within the scope of his employment even though he was off duty. That means the city may be liable for much of the award.
A statement from the city attorney's office said the city will review all of its options, including an appeal.
French and his parents, Russell and Paola French, were shopping at the Costco store when the 32-year-old struck or shoved Sanchez from behind without warning while they were waiting at a sausage sample table, authorities said.
Sanchez, who was holding his toddler son in his arms, was knocked to the ground. He took out his gun and fired several times, killing French and injuring his parents.
French's parents said their son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Sanchez was fired from the LAPD last year after the city's civilian Board of Police Commissioners determined that French's conduct did not present an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury - meaning that the use of lethal force was not "objectively reasonable."
The Riverside County district attorney declined to charge Sanchez criminally when a grand jury didn't indict him. However, the state attorney general charged him with voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm.
He is awaiting trial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.