An off-duty Los Angeles police officer will not be charged for fatally shooting a mentally ill man who had attacked him and his young son from behind in a California Costco, the AP reports. In announcing a grand jury's findings, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Officer Salvador Sanchez believed he had been shot in the head and a shooter was on the loose when he and his son were knocked to the ground in the incident. Hestrin said his office would not bring its own charges against Sanchez in the wake of the grand jury decision. Sanchez, a seven-year veteran of the LAPD, opened fire June 14, killing 32-year-old Kenneth French and critically injuring his parents, Russell and Paola French.
"In a case like this, it's appropriate for the community to weigh in," Hestrin said about the grand jury deliberations. "This case has weighed heavily on us." Dale Galipo, an attorney for the French family, said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the development. Kenneth's brother and parents reacted with outrage and grief: "We are extremely heartbroken," said Russell at a news briefing, per NBC Los Angeles. "This is another blow to our family. We have lost faith in the US justice system." Paola wept as she said Sanchez "clearly saw we were unarmed. He was wrong to fire 10 shots at our family." The family has filed a claim—a precursor to a lawsuit—against Sanchez and the Los Angeles Police Department. Galipo said he plans to file a federal lawsuit within the next month.
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