The family members of a man fatally shot by an off-duty Los Angeles police officer at a Corona Costco publicly spoke out Monday for the first time since the June 14 incident.
Russell and Paola French, who were also shot, and their other son, Kevin French, pushed for the release of the store surveillance video that captured the shooting that killed 32-year-old Kenneth French, who had schizophrenia.
Kenneth French struck Salvador Sanchez from behind as the officer fed his toddler son some samples, Sanchez's attorney previously said.
French's parents said they informed Sanchez, who identified himself as an officer, that their son had an intellectual disability.
“After hearing Officer [Salvador] Sanchez identify himself as a police officer, I begged and told him not to shoot,” Russell French said. “I said, ‘We have no guns, and my son is sick.’ He still shot. I thought people don’t do that.”
The couple sustained gunshot wounds to the back, indicating that that "they were not facing in Officer Sanchez’ direction at the time they were shot," a statement from the firm representing the family said.
Kenneth French also had his back to the officer when he was struck multiple times, family attorney Dale Galipo said.
“Not only did we lose our first-born son, my husband and I sustained injuries that will impact our lives forever,” Paola French said in tears.
A Riverside Superior Court judge has blocked the release of surveillance video that captured the incident, LAPD announced earlier in August.
In addition to that footage, a shopper recorded video of the ordeal, Galipo said. In that clip, which could not be released to the public yet, the officer's wife is heard asking Sanchez what he had done, saying he shot an entire family, the lawyer claimed.
“It could happen to anyone,” Kenneth French’s younger brother, Kevin, said of the shooting.
The brother also expressed outrage that authorities let Sanchez leave the scene without detaining him. The officer also returned to the store the next day and was allowed to watch the surveillance video before making his statement to authorities, Kevin French said.
Spokesman Joshua Rubenstein said the LAPD did not plan to release a statement following the family's news conference on Monday. Sanchez remained "assigned home" amid the ongoing investigation, Rubenstein said.