Questions Remain Over LAPD Officer’s Decision to Open Fire Inside Costco, Killing Man Described as Mentally Ill

An off-duty Los Angeles police officer's decision to shoot a man inside a Costco store in Corona last week remained under scrutiny Wednesday as conflicting accounts of the deadly encounter emerge.

Kenneth French, a 32-year-old Riverside man, had a mental disability and was off his medication when he pushed or slapped the officer on Friday evening, said Dale Galipo, his family's attorney.

French's father was trying to explain that his son had a mental disability when the officer opened fire, striking the 32-year-old and his parents, Galipo said.

Kenneth French died. His father, Russell French, is conscious but remains in serious condition, the lawyer said Tuesday. Meanwhile, it's unclear whether his mother, Paola French, will survive, Galipo said.

The attorney for the officer, David Winslow, provided a different story.

Kenneth French knocked the off-duty officer unconscious while the officer was holding his 1 1/2-year-old son, Winslow said.

When he regained consciousness, the officer fired his handgun because he "believed his life and his son's life was in immediate danger, according to the lawyer.

The officer has been "assigned home" as the LAPD investigates the case, Chief Michel Moore said. He has yet to be publicly named, but multiple sources identified him to the Los Angeles Times as Salvador Sanchez, an LAPD Southwest Division patrol officer.

Moore said Tuesday afternoon that he expected to see footage from Costco related to the shooting within the next 24 hours. LAPD has not released any details about that video.

The Corona Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office are conducting a separate, criminal investigation of the incident.

 

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