Last updated: 5 months ago
Questions posed in a lawsuit suggest that a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy used the guise of serving felony warrants to shoot and kill his former lover’s ex-boyfriend.
The deputy and his actions are the focus of investigations by the district attorney’s office and Sheriff’s Department.
An attorney for Deputy Oscar Rodriguez strongly denied the allegations, which arose during a deposition in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by relatives of Luis Carlos Morin Jr.
Rodriguez, who was on duty, shot and killed Morin, 39, on Jan. 27, 2014, in Coachella.
Riverside County has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for nearly $7 million in connection with the shooting death of a 39-year-old man by a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy in Coachella in 2014.
The circumstances of the death of Luis Carlos Morin Jr. at the hands of Deputy Oscar Rodriguez remain under investigation, with the lawsuit alleging the deputy used the guise of serving felony warrants to shoot and kill his former lover’s ex-boyfriend, Morin.
Ray Smith, county spokesman, confirmed in an email the $6.95 million settlement, with the county obligated to pay $1 million from its general liability fund, and insurance covering the remainder.
Rodriguez remains on administrative leave, while the Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office conduct separate investigations.
The settlement is among the biggest payouts in recent memory to settle wrongful death litigation against the county and Sheriff’s Department. Last year, county supervisors agreed to a $5.55 million settlement to end a lawsuit filed by the family of Raymond Johnson, 41, of Moreno Valley, who died in police custody in October 2013. Typically, the county pays the first $1 million, and insurance covers the rest.
August 2014 lawsuit filed against Riverside County, alleging that Rodriguez was in an intimate relationship with Diana Perez, the mother of Morin's children. The suit also claimed that Rodriguez was hiding in the bushes when Morin came home that night. Rodriguez allegedly approached him from behind, kicked him in the back of the knees then held him down to the ground while firing one shot into his back, killing him.
February 2016 Settlement $7million
After an investigation involving the District Attorney's Office and the sheriff's department, a grand jury indicted Rodriguez for murder on December 22, 2017.
"This was a love triangle," said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. "The deputy was on-duty, but he was not acting in the course of his duty. He was taking care of personal things that he was trying to do."