December 25, 2014
Cause of death: Shooting
Last updated: over 5 years ago
Officials from the Sheriff's Department said an altercation took place between a female deputy and the suspect. Rodriguez reportedly fought with the deputy who was in the area responding to a report of a "suspicious person" in the area.
Rodriguez tried to take the deputy's baton and that's when she shot the suspect, says Sgt. Manning of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The deputy was not injured in the altercation.
“I thought, he was coming towards me … I thought he was going to grab my gun and kill me," the deputy told investigators after the shooting, according to newly released law enforcement documents.
That statement – now public for the first time – could be critical to a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against the sheriff’s department by the family of Omar Rodriguez. Attorney Dale Galipo, who specializes in excessive force lawsuits, said the statement revealed the shooting was based on a “subjective fear.”
“It’s not a justification for deadly force,” Galipo said. “If officers are going to start saying that a person was unarmed, but they thought the he was ‘maybe going to get my gun and shoot me with it,’ they are going to shoot someone every time they take a step in their direction.”