The fatal police shooting of a 27-year-old man in Huntington Beach that was captured on multiple cellphone videos last year was deemed justified by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Dillan Tabares died Sept. 22, 2017, after being shot by Officer Eric Esparza outside a 7-Eleven. Video taken by witnesses at the scene showed an officer firing at Tabares seven times after a struggle.
Tabares apparently punched and kicked the officer, who described the man as having “super strength,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Wednesday in announcing the decision.
He also allegedly reached kept reaching for the officer’s gun.
The officer used a stun gun in an attempt to subdue Tabares before the shooting.
It remains unclear how the confrontation started, but officials said Tabares was endangering lives with his actions.
“It is our conclusion, based on the evidence, based on the fact and based on the law that Officer Esparza was justified in believing that Mr. Tabares posed a signifiant threat to him and to others in a manner that justified the use by Officer Esparza of his weapon,” Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said during a news conference Wednesday.
Tabares had recently been released from custody after serving a two-year sentence for battery causing serious injury, and he was a suspect in the fatal beating of his 80-year-old friend.
He was a Navy veteran who had apparently been arrested more than 10 times over the last few years before his death, authorities said.