Santa Clara County DA Clears Gilroy Officer in Fatal Suspect Shooting, Cites ‘Imminent Danger’

In a report released on May 27, District Attorney Robert Baker wrote that there was “conclusive evidence” for the conclusion that policewoman Catalina Freida “believed she was in immediate danger of being killed by [David] “Lopez, whose shooting was necessary to protect against this danger, and the amount of force she used was reasonable.”

“Officer Catalina Frieda’s disciplined response to an ambush by a live fire by a violent criminal with intent to kill police officers is a credit to her training, professionalism and courage,” Baker wrote in A 20-page public report. “According to the facts of this case and the applicable law, Officer Pride reasonably believed that she should use lethal force to protect herself from being killed by David Lopez, and such force was necessary and reasonable in the circumstances of the case.”

At 2:30 a.m. on September 8, The senders received a 9-1-1 call from a man who identified himself as Dave Lopez, a 40-year-old Gilroy resident, according to police. He reportedly told the dispatcher that the police were looking for him and that he would wait at Gilroy’s post office on 100 Fourth Street, saying he was unarmed and drunk.

Freida, who was the first policewoman at the scene, knew Lopez was wanted for attempted murder on Aug. 31, and used her vehicle’s public address system to order him to lie on the ground, according to the report.

However, the report stated that Lopez immediately started firing at Freid with a gun, hitting her patrol vehicle, while he was hiding behind a pillar. Pride jumped out of the vehicle while it was still rolling, according to the report, and reached out her leg to apply the parking brake as she jumped out from behind the vehicle.

In an interview with investigators, Freud said she was “scared” and thought Lopez was “going to pop up and murder me.”

Lopez’s 9mm pistol got stuck, the report said, and he pulled out a 0.40 semi-automatic pistol from his shorts, and tried to fire again at Freid, but the pistol was not loaded.

Freide fired three shots at Lopez, but missed. At this point, Sergeant Kenneth Ellsworth began approaching the scene in his patrol car on Eagleberry Street, and Lopez appeared to be aiming his gun at him, according to footage from the grasshopper camera.

Pride said she believes Lopez is trying to reload his gun, and to protect herself and other police officers, she fired two more shots at Lopez, one of which hit his head and killed him.

Gilroy Police released video footage From Fraide’s camera worn on the body and the vehicle’s flashback camera shortly after the incident.

Freida, who was hired by Gilroy police in August 2019, told investigators she had no chance of weakening the situation because she was attacked as soon as she arrived.

Baker’s report cited several sections of the California Penal Code, one of which states that police officers “may use lethal force when necessary to protect themselves and others from the imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

“In all circumstances, any reasonable officer in the same situation would have been expected to respond in the same manner as Officer Pride to defend against the danger posed by Lopez,” Baker wrote. “As a result, her actions were out of legitimate self-defense.”

A post-mortem found that Lopez was under the influence of methamphetamine and amphetamine during the shooting.

Fundraising for GoFundMe to help pay for Lopez’s funeral expenses was created by a family member on September 9th.

The page describes Lopez, a father of four, as “a great father who loved his family unconditionally.”

“David was a bright spark in this world and will be greatly missed,” the page read. “He has touched the lives of so many and it is our turn to give back to his family in a time of need. We are raising money to cover the funeral and memorial costs for David Lopez’s family because this passing was completely unexpected.”

The district attorney’s office is investigating all of the deadly law enforcement encounters to determine if the deadly force was lawful.

This article first appeared in Gilroy Dispatch.

Santa Clara County DA Clears Gilroy Officer in Fatal Suspect Shooting, Cites ‘Imminent Danger’ Source link Santa Clara County DA Clears Gilroy Officer in Fatal Suspect Shooting, Cites ‘Imminent Danger’

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