The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that an officer with the La Habra Police Department was legally justified in fatally shooting a man outside of the police department in August 2021.
The shooting occurred Aug. 6, 2021 after a woman noticed a dark-colored sedan tailgating her on the northbound 5 Freeway as she was driving home from work.
The woman, who was not identified, was concerned for her safety, called 911 and was connected to LHPD dispatch.
“(Jane) Doe informed LHPD dispatch that a young male driving an older black sedan continued to tailgate her even though she made several attempts to get out of his way,” officials reported in a news release.
The emergency operator suggested the woman drive to the La Habra Police Station, located at 150 North Euclid Street. The woman arrived at the station, parked in front and remained on the line with police.
The tailgating suspect, later identified as 22-year-old Matthew-Tuan Anh Tran, parked behind the woman’s vehicle in his 1998 Toyota Camry. He exited the vehicle, walked to the front of the police station and attempted to open the doors. Though the lobby was locked, Tran attempted to open the doors a second time and did not respond to LHPD dispatch who was attempting to speak to him from the intercom system.
LHPD Officers Abigail Fox and Mark Milward were sent to the location, arriving outside the station at approximately 7:08 p.m.
While Officer Fox approached the woman’s vehicle, Milward contacted Tran at the station’s front doors.
In the video, Officer Milward can be seen speaking to Tran, who said he was trying to see someone inside and claimed he was not connected to the vehicles in front of the station.
Moments later, Tran pulls a handgun from the waistband of his pants and fires two rounds at Milward. One of the bullets hit the officer’s bulletproof vest in the right upper chest, causing him to fall to the ground.
That is when Officer Fox, who saw Tran standing at the station’s entrance with a gun pointed at her fellow officer, drew her gun and fired five rounds at the suspect in rapid succession.
One of the bullets hit Tran in the head and he went down.
Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived at the scene and Tran was declared dead at approximately 7:26 p.m.
“Officer Fox was justified in believing that Tran posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to herself or others,” the news release stated. “This conclusion is based on the totality of the circumstances, but mainly based on the conduct of Tran in the moments leading up to him firing first.”