On Monday, August 26th, ABC reported that an off-duty police officer shot and killed a mentally ill man in a Costco after a brief altercation in June. As we have explained in many articles and videos, when a law enforcement officer injures a person, there are only two possibilities: it was true self-defense or it was an extrajudicial punishment. As per the information available to us at the time of this writing, it seems that all parties involved agree that the mentally ill man who suffered from schizophrenia (a psychotic disorder detaching him from reality) was no longer a threat at the moment the police officer fired 8 shots at him, fatally striking him in the back. Being that self-defense statutes and case law confirm that such a shooting is not legally considered ‘self-defense’, (and would never be considered self-defense if the shooter were a civilian) this was yet another of the many cases in which a police officer acted as cop, judge, jury, & executioner, and murdered an innocent person in cold blood.
From the available details, it seems that the off-duty cop was at Costco with his wife and child and was in line to taste some free sausage samples at the same time as the French family. The 32-year-old Ken French suffered from a severe mental illness called schizophrenia, which generally causes the individual to be detached from reality (psychotic) and which caused him to be non-verbal. Depending on the witness, Ken either ‘bumped’ or ‘struck’ the cop at some point while he was holding his son in his arms either before or after a verbal altercation may have occurred. Of course, any verbal altercation between the cop and the mentally ill victim would have been one-sided, as Ken did not possess the mental capacity to speak. According to every report we’ve read, there were at least a few moments after the mysterious physical encounter during which Ken turned and walked away from Sanchez. At this point, Ken French was no longer a threat, and any person who killed him could not claim self-defense.
Sanchez handed his child to his wife, pulled out his gun, aimed, waited while Ken’s parents pleaded with him not to shoot their incompetent son, and then opened fire on the mentally ill man and both of his parents, right in the middle of Costco. The shots struck Ken, his mother, and his father.
Ken French was struck multiple times in the back and died of his injuries. Both of his parents also sustained severe injuries after being shot by the rogue cop.
“Paola, 59, was shot in the back with the bullet exiting through her stomach. “She was in a coma for an extended period of time and it was unclear if she was going to live or die.” She had several surgeries and faces more, Galipo said.
Russell, 58, was shot in the abdomen with the bullet entering his right side, with no exit. He lost a kidney and has had complications including infections. He was only released from the hospital a week ago.”, Mercury News reports.
No other bystanders were struck by the gunshots, as far as we can tell.
It might be important to note that Costco has a strict no-firearms policy for all non-police shoppers. We should then conclude that the cop knew that Mr. French was unarmed and therefore not a threat, especially when fleeing, as multiple back wounds indicate he was.
According to all existing case law of which we are aware, the self-defense argument would be invalid in this case due to the shooter not having a reasonable belief that he was in danger at the moment he opened fire, and this would result in a homicide conviction.
In a video interview to ABC reporters, the Lieutenant of the responding police department described the preceding events as ‘an argument’ . The same article states that the official police statement was that the officer was assaulted without provocation. Even the police – the coworkers of the murderer – are not attempting to claim that the officer killed the victim due to fearing for his life in the moment. The cop was not arrested or detained, and most probably will not receive any disciplinary action whatsoever.
The reports indicate that there was ample time between the mysterious altercation and the gunfire. The 32-year-old non-verbal mentally ill victim was at least a few feet away from officer Sanchez and seemingly was facing the other direction when he was fatally shot in the back. He was far enough that the rogue cop missed multiple times and struck both of his parents with bullets, too. It would seem that the cop could have killed numerous innocent shoppers in the busy Costco.
“Don’t shoot! My son is sick!”, the victim’s father was quoted as saying. “I begged and told him not to shoot. I said we have no guns and my son is sick. He still shot.”, said French, after the incident.
“Please don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot!”, cried Paola, the victim’s mother, moments before watching her son get shot multiple times in the back, causing him to bleed out and die soon after being shot.
The family is asking a judge to release the Costco video footage, according to ABC. Will the justice system allow the footage to be released? If the video evidence shows anything like the story describes, they may not ever release it. The police, judges, and prosecutors are doing everything they can to restrict the video from being seen by the public, according to Newsmaven. The incident occurred in June, but the judge is not allowing the surveillance footage to be released.
According to California self-defense and homicide law (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) the rogue cop should be convicted of murder unless everything reported by ABC is 100% false. As of this writing, it has been over two months since the fatal shooting in which a man was killed and two others were critically injured, and no charges have been filed against the shooter – who enjoys ‘blue privilege’.