CORONA, Ca. – A Federal Grand Jury decided on Wednesday not to indict the Los Angeles Police officer who was involved in a shooting in a Costco store in June 2019.
Salvador Sanchez was off-duty at the time of the June 14th incident that began in a sample line at the Costco store, located at 480 N. McKinley in the City of Corona. According to evidence obtained by the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, Kenneth French hit Sanchez in the back of the head as he held his 18 month old son. The situation somehow escalated and Sanchez fired 10 rounds, shooting Kenneth French, his mother, Paola French, his father Russell French, who were all learned to be unarmed.
Kenneth French, 32, who suffered from schizophrenia and was non-verbal died as a result of the shooting. His parents both sustained major injuries but survived their injuries. Based on witness statements and grainy surveillance footage provided by the Costco store, it appears as though Paola and Russell were providing aid to Kenneth and explaining he was mentally disabled when they were shot, his mother in her stomach and his father in his back. It is unclear at this time where Kenneth was shot. Riverside District Attorney Hestrin said that the off-duty officer believed that he had been shot in the head while holding his small child. In addition, he believed that the shooting was the result of an active shooter, leading to the shooting.
“A thorough investigation into the shooting was done by the Corona Police Department and presented to the DA’s Office for review,” Hestin stated in a news release and conference. “The DA’s Bureau of Investigation conducted follow-up investigation leading to the case being presented to the criminal grand jury in early September. Presenting a case to a criminal grand jury is an option available to the DA’s Office and can be utilized for a variety of reasons including having members of the community examine the evidence in a case as well as compelling testimony from material witnesses who may have otherwise refused to be interviewed by law enforcement officials. In this matter, the grand jury heard testimony and deliberated over the course of two weeks, returning the “no bill” the afternoon of Sept. 24. “
Still, whilst the grand jury made their decision, the public at large, does not understand or support the decision, even after viewing the video. “The victim was shot in the back four times, said Stacy Yohn in response to the District Attorney’s news conference. “I guess it’s ok to just go around recklessly shooting people who push you, it’s also ok to shoot the family of the person who pushed you . This sets a very dangerous precedent going forward. At the very least , this officer displayed reckless discharge of a firearm resulting in great bodily injury for shooting the parents.”
Sanchez’ child was uninjured during the incident and Sanchez suffered only minor injuries, He is currently on paid administrative lead while the LAPD conducts their own investigation. The officer now feels vindicated, knowing that the grand jury was against the indictment.
Much of the Corona community feels as though the grainy surveillance, if clearer would have shown far more if the quality was better. “It’s crazy that the video is of such horrible quality, when costco themselves sell some of the best video surveillance that I have seen,” said Kame Ramirez. “My home video surveillance was purchased at Costco and is of great quality.”
The French family attorney said that they will be filing a federal suit in upcoming days.
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