Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore on Tuesday broke his silence days after an off-duty officer killed a man and wounded his parents inside a Costco store in Corona during a shooting described by the victims' family as "excessive and completely unjustified."
There are "more questions than answers at this point," Moore said during a Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
"I’ll wait for the full investigation before commenting on the officer’s decision to use deadly force," the chief said. “I will say at this point, my heart goes out to the parents of Mr. French and I pray for their recovery.”
The officer involved, whose identity has not been released, shot Kenneth French of Riverside multiple times Friday evening, Moore said.
His parents, Russell and Paola French, were also struck by the officer, the chief added.
Their family described Kenneth French as a non-verbal 32-year-old with an intellectual disability.
His father is recovering from his injuries while his mother remains in critical condition, according to a family statement released Tuesday.
None of them were armed at the time of the shooting.
An attorney for the officer has said his client was struck from behind as he fed his 1 1/2-year-old son samples inside Costco.
The officer was briefly knocked out, and the toddler fell to the ground, Attorney David Winslow told the Associated Press.
Upon regaining consciousness, "he believed his life and his son's life was in immediate danger," the lawyer said. The officer was not aware that Kenneth French had a disability when he shot him, Winslow added.
The officer has been "assigned home" as the criminal probe by the city of Corona and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the administrative investigation by the LAPD continues, Moore said.
The Office of Inspector General is overseeing LAPD's investigation, the chief said.
Moore noted that while officers are allowed to carry their weapons while off-duty, they are trained on expectations that come with firing their guns when they're not on the clock.
LAPD policy considers an off-duty officer's lack of resources, like radio and other tools, and therefore provides some authority to enable the officer to defend him or herself, Moore said.
The chief expects to see footage recorded by a Costco camera during a briefing of the incident within the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the victims' family is pushing for a criminal prosecution of the officer, urging witnesses to come forward with any information.
Their lawyer, Dale Galipo, said "the family believes that shooting was excessive and completely unjustified because Mr. French was unarmed and posed no immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to anyone."
"French’s family is particularly bothered by the fact that if anyone other than an off-duty police officer had shot three unarmed civilians in a Costco, that person would be in jail and facing criminal charges for murder," the statement from the family said.