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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | CENTRAL: SANTA
ANA

Police Shooting Sparks Protest Before Council

September 22, 1998|JASON KANDEL

Community leaders asked the City Council on Monday for a "just and impartial" investigation into a police shooting that left one man dead during a stolen-car investigation.

"This death has been seen in the community as something that shouldn't have happened," said Josie Montoya, a spokeswoman for Los Amigos, the countywide community service organization calling for the investigation. "We lost somebody over an incident that could have been handled in a different manner."

Monday's demonstration by about two dozen people focused on the death of Jose Manuel Campos, 28. He was shot in the head by police Sept. 7 as he allegedly tried to flee in a stolen car at North Laurel and 5th streets, police said. He died the next day at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

Council members, meeting in a study session in the Police Department community room Monday, took no official action on the issue. Mayor Miguel Pulido assured the citizens group that "we'll continue to work with you and resolve this matter to see that the investigation is fair and just and [that] it meets everybody's satisfaction."

He and other council members said they would rely on the district attorney to pursue the case.

"What's important is that we wait for the investigation to be completed. Hopefully, it will be resolved soon," city Police Chief Paul M. Walters told the group.

Police have said the officer who shot Campos "feared for his life" and fired after Campos "angled" the car he was driving at the officer. Campos was unarmed, authorities said.

The unidentified officer who fired the shot is a 14-year veteran, police said. After a routine administrative leave, the officer returned to patrol duty.

Police said Campos was on parole; a $10,000 arrest warrant naming him in connection with narcotics possession.

Relatives and activists said the Police Department should be held accountable for the death.

"I want the officer who shot at my boy to come forward and say why he did this," said Rosalba Campos, 53, about her son's death. "I want answers and I want justice."

Last week, the Campos family asked members of the League of United Latin American Citizens and Los Amigos to demand the investigation.

The shooting is being investigated by police and by the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

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