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DA: Deputies Justified in Use of Deadly Force

Officials said the fatal shooting of a Yucaipa man in October 2011 was justified because the man placed the deputies lives in danger.

Deputies who last year fatally shot a Yucaipa man who fought them as they tried to place him under arrest were left with little choice but to use deadly force and were justified in their action, according to San Bernardino County District Attorney officials.

District Attorney investigators on Thursday released the findings of an investigation into an Oct. 26, 2011 officer involved shooting of Kenneth Munoz Jr.

The incident started with a call by Munoz’s co-worker. The unidentified co-worker told authorities he was trying to retrieve a company truck from Munoz’s home, in the 35000 block of B Avenue in Yucaipa , but had not been allowed to take it, according to the report.

Deputies responded and tried to question Munoz but, according to the officials, he refused to answer them. Deputies testified he was armed with a sprinkler head attached to a metal pipe and a second unidentified weapon.

Munoz reportedly took off running in the middle of the interview. Deputies tried to use a Tazer but he was able to elude it. More deputies arrived and the Sheriff’s helicopter was brought in to look for Munoz who was seen running through back yards, according to the report.

Authorities searched for some time and found him after a neighbor on B Avenue reported he was in their yard. Officials said they found him hiding in a tree in the back yard of a home that had overgrown vegetation. The bushes were so grown out, the officials had to stoop down to enter, according to the report. The yard was also described as very dark forcing deputies to rely heavily on their flashlights.

Munoz was ordered to lie down on the ground and he complied.

A deputy identified as J. Parea by DA investigators attempted to place their suspect in handcuffs Munoz jumped onto his knees, turned around punched the deputy in the face. The two began to struggle, according to the report.

Munoz reportedly grabbed Parea’s gun. The deputy tried to stop him and the gun went off as the two fought, according to the report. Parea eventually got the weapon back and moved away, allowing a Sgt. M. O’Brien and Deputy I. Diaz to open fire.

Munoz was shot 12 times. An autopsy found Munoz had amphetamines, methamphetamine and opiates in his system, officials said.

“This is a case that should have ended with the return of the truck to the aggrieved party and an amicable resolution of the dispute over possession,” officials wrote in their analysis. “When law enforcement officers arrived and tried to convince Kenneth Jr. to give back the truck, he would not comply with any verbal commands and ran away escalating a family disturbance over possession of a truck call to a foot pursuit, use of non-lethal force and ultimately deadly force.”

Washy January 31, 2013 at 07:04 PM
The gun went off while we struggled for it wouldn't work to clear me!
concerned citizen January 31, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Glad the officer was ok and the scumbag wasn't. Another drug addict bites the dust!
Vince January 31, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Aaaaa Washy, it does sound a tad "tainted". I rarely side with perps, yet...Dude was disarmed when they shot him as the officer retreated WITH his weapon recovered? No less than 3 officers on scene, that evidently had tazer's at their disposal, and then two shot the sumbiatch TWELVE TIMES---at least those are the rounds that struck home...OVERKILL comes to mind, BIG TIME...and a rather "interesting" conclusion to an investigation, to say the least.
concerned citizen February 01, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Gina, You are really dumb. There was nothing wrong with my previous comment, It was the truth. It is obvious that you do not like the police. What? Was the creep Munoz family or friend of yours?
shawn February 03, 2013 at 03:59 AM
good thing washy is a safety first police officer...keep that master grip guy!!!

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