DA releases bodycam footage from police shootings, deems them justified

SAN DIEGO -- The District Attorney's office released its review of four fatal police shootings at a briefing Friday afternoon, in a presentation that included graphic body camera footage from the deadly incidents.

In all four cases, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced the shootings were deemed justified and the officers were not criminally responsible for the deaths.

The cases under review included:

  • Jeroen Peter Koornwinder, a 50-year-old man who San Diego County Sheriff's deputies say tried to run them down in his pickup truck before he was fatally shot in the chest
  • Isais Raziel Ochoa-Bautista, a 19-year-old who San Diego Police Department officers say fired at them after a pursuit before they returned gunshots and killed him
  • David Joseph Scott, a 27-year-old who the Chula Vista Police Department says stabbed an officer multiple times in an altercation at his mother's house
  • Kyle Benjamin Zahacefski, a 24-year-old who San Diego Police Department officers say advanced on them with a knife after a home invasion before he was fatally shot

In three of the fatal shootings, Stephan released body camera videos that captured the final moments of the deadly episodes.

A letter sent by Stephan to Sheriff Bill Gore said a deputy and a detective were justified in shooting 50-year-old Jeroen Peter Koornwinder on May 10, 2017 on the Barona Indian Reservation. Stephan said the deputies had gone to the scene at the request of Barona Tribal Security to contact Koornwinder for trespassing on private property.

When confronted, Koornwinder drove toward the deputies in his truck and was shot and killed. Stephan said the deputies fired in self-defense and in defense of others.

Stephan also found that the Aug. 24, 2017, fatal shooting of Isais Raziel Ochoa-Bautista was justified.

Ochoa-Bautista was a passenger in a car being pursued by law enforcement and fled the vehicle on a dead-end street in Lemon Grove. He took up behind a cinderblock wall and fired at officers and refused orders to drop his gun. When he fired again and pointed his gun at officers, he was fatally shot by officers from several jurisdictions. Stephan found that the officers fired in self-defense and in defense of others.

Stephan also ruled that the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Kyle Benjamin Zahacefski by a San Diego police officer on Dec. 10, 2017, was justified.

Police said Zahacefski broke into a residence and armed himself with an iron rod and a knife. When officers confronted Zahacefski in the home and ordered him to drop the knife, he walked toward the officer, who shot him.

Stephan also released body-worn video of the fatal shooting of David Joseph Scott on Sept. 19, 2017.

Chula Vista police officers had gone to Scott's residence to investigate an allegation that he threw a rock at a neighbor. Scott's mother told officers that her son was schizophrenic but usually not violent and they went inside to talk to him.

When David Scott emerged, he immediately attacked an officer with a steak knife, stabbing the officer five times in the face and neck. The officer shot Scott, who died a short time later. Stephan ruled the officer fired in self-defense.