Corona Costco shooter ‘collapsed’, witness says, as attorneys focus on his condition before shooting – Press Enterprise

Exactly how seriously was Los Angeles police officer Salvador Alejandro Sanchez, who was off duty, injured on June 14, 2019, when he was struck in the head from behind without warning while standing in line by a man with an intellectual disability? to get meat samples at Costco in Corona?

The blow, Sanchez said, left him unconscious and led him to later fire the shots that killed 32-year-old Kenneth French and seriously injured his parents, Russell and Paola.

Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office after the Riverside County Grand Jury declined to indict him and District Attorney Mike Hestrin, who said he had reservations about the legitimacy of the shooting, decided not to press charges.

Superior Court Judge Samuel Díaz Jr. will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing if there is enough evidence to bring Sánchez to trial.

On the first day of the hearing, Wednesday, Aug. 10, Sanchez’s attorney and a state prosecutor focused on Sanchez’s downfall as they reviewed testimony from two forgetful witnesses who often contradicted their 2019 Grand Jury testimony. After the hearing continued into Thursday, defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz declined to comment on how Sanchez went down after he was caught.

But if Sánchez “collapsed,” as one witness said, it could show that Sánchez was seriously injured and may have acted reflexively when he fired. But another witness, according to a police detective who testified, told him that Sanchez was able to drop off his young son before she fell.

That witness told Detective Lisa Larios that Kenneth French approached Sánchez within four to five seconds and punched him, walked away and stood in front of Sánchez, his fists clenched, before Sánchez shot him dead. .

A witness, Diane Bawic, 24, told Schwartz that Sanchez was on the ground for 10 seconds and possibly unconscious before waking up and shooting. But she later told Deputy Attorney General Mike Murphy that she had told police that Sanchez was in the apartment for only a second. She then she changed that testimony to five to 10 seconds.

Another witness, Regina Boladian, 72, said she gave samples first to the Frenches and then to the Sanchezes before Kenneth French slipped behind her parents, walked up to Sanchez and hit him in the right temple. He fell down, she said.

Boladian acknowledged being nervous about testifying.

“I hope this is the last question,” he said wearily at one point. “I want to go home.”

Testimony concluded with Corona Police Cpl. Robert Slane, the first officer to arrive after the 911 calls. He walked in and found Sanchez face up in the deli. In Slane’s body camera video, Sanchez says he thought he had been shot and his head hurt.

“Where’s the shooter?” Slane says in the video. “That guy,” Sanchez replies, pointing to Kenneth French, who was lying dead in a pool of blood, an image that made a relative in the courtroom break down.

An off-duty sheriff’s deputy tells Corona police that it was Sanchez who fired the shot. Sanchez then acknowledges that fact and says that he saw “an explosion,” saw French “squatting” and possibly “still armed,” so he fired. Parents, Sanchez says, “may have gotten in the way.”

Los Angeles police later fired Sanchez. In a civil case, a federal jury in Riverside in October awarded $17 million to the estate of Kenneth French and his parents.

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