CORONA, Calif. — California prosecutors won’t file charges against an off-duty officer who fatally shot a man inside a Costco store in Corona three months ago.
Following a grand jury decision that charges are not warranted, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said he will not file criminal charges against Salvador Sanchez, an off-duty Los Angeles police officer.
Kenneth French, described by a cousin as non-verbal, is believed to have struck Sanchez, who then fired 10 shots. Sanchez was shopping with his family on June 14 and holding his young child when the brief incident began.
French, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was unarmed.
French was hit three times in the back, and once in the shoulder, said Joe DelGiudice, chief of investigations for the district attorney’s office.
French’s parents, Russell and Paola French, were also wounded. Four seconds passed between the assault and the beginning of the shooting, DelGiudice added.
Hestrin showed surveillance video of the deadly encounter, which is somewhat difficult to discern, as the perspective is from across the warehouse store. At least two people can be seen in a scuffle and both drop to the ground.
Hestrin notes that French’s parents were uncooperative during the investigation and were heard from for the first time during the grand jury hearing.
“I am not condoning this shooting,” Hestrin said, but indicated that he would abide by the grand jury’s decision.
Salvador’s attorney said it appears the family will file a civil suit but they were happy there would be no criminal charges.
“Today is quite a victory for Sal,” Ira Salzman said. “This was a terrible tragedy. (Sanchez) was protecting his son, he thought he had been shot and felt like he had no other option.”
Salzman said Salvador is gratified the grand jury felt the same way when it rendered its decision Tuesday. When Salzman told his client about the grand jury decision, both men cried
Attorney Dale Galipo told CNN affiliate KTLA the French family is “very disappointed and hurt, quite frankly.” They will hold a news conference Thursday.