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Police Officer: Here's Why I Opened Fire at Costco

He was 'fighting for his life,' his lawyer says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2019 6:47 PM CDT
Kenneth French and his mother, Paola French, were shot at a California Costco last week. He was killed, and his mother was critically wounded when an off-duty police officer shot them.   (Louana D'Cunha via AP)

(Newser) – A lawyer for the family of a man fatally shot at a California Costco conceded that the man pushed a police officer. They were standing in line for food samples at the time, and the father of Kenneth French, 32, stepped between his son and the off-duty officer. "His father was trying to intervene and explain that his son had a mental disability," Dale Galipo said, per the Los Angeles Times. French, who was "non-verbal," usually was calm, Galipo said, though a recent change in his medications could have caused a change in behavior. Galipo said the officer opened fire out of anger because he'd been pushed, not because his life was in danger. "The shooting was excessive and completely unjustified," Galipo said, noting French was unarmed and French's parents were critically wounded by the gunfire.

The lawyer for the officer, Salvador Sanchez, gives a different account, the Times notes. "He was shopping with his wife and 1½-year-old at Costco," David Winslow said. "His son was in his arms, and he was feeding his son some samples when, within seconds, he was on the ground and woke up from being unconscious, and he was fighting for his life." The city of Corona is in the middle of a criminal investigation of the shooting, which was caught on security cameras, while Los Angeles Police are investigating the officer's use of force. Corona officials said their investigation is hurt by the inability to interview the participants; no arrests were made at the time, and the shooting left the store in chaos. The LA police chief said, "There's many more questions than answers at this point." (Read more police shooting stories.)

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