The family of a 30-year-old man who was shot and killed by Hemet Police while in his own backyard earlier this month is speaking out through their attorneys.
The fatal shooting occurred on Feb. 21, while officers with the Hemet Police Department were investigating a reported theft in the 800 block of South Harvard Street at around 10 a.m.
The victim, Christian Drye, whose backyard is adjoined by fence to the backyard of the house that police were investigating, was at home with his wife and one of their five children when police opened fire on him while he was on his own property.
The 30-year-old was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“While in his own backyard, Mr. Drye was shot and killed by a Hemet Police Department officer without warning. Mr. Drye was not a threat to the officers. This shooting should never have happened,” attorneys for the family said in a news release.
Hemet police said that “they encountered an armed male in the adjacent backyard,” but also acknowledged in a department news release that Drye was a neighbor of the home being investigated and was unrelated to the theft.
The officer who killed Drye has yet to be identified, though officials said he has been placed on administrative leave. Police said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
“We believe the use of deadly force by a Hemet Police Department officer violated Christian Drye’s Constitutional rights and that the officer’s poor tactics and training played a part in this unjustifiable use of deadly force,” Dale K. Galipo, an attorney for the family, said in the news release.