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Officer Is Fired After Killing Suspect

November 11, 2005|Susana Enriquez | Times Staff Writer

A Westminster police officer who killed a hit-and-run suspect when he pinned him to a palm tree with his patrol car has been fired.

Charles Shinn III's last day on the payroll was Nov. 4, said his attorney, Michael Lackie. The 15-year department veteran had been on paid administrative leave since the Feb. 9 chase that ended with the death of Hoang Tan Bui, 30, of Westminster. The father of two was killed in Midway City.

The incident began when Shinn, 45, pulled Bui over to question him about allegedly fleeing the scene of an accident. When Shinn approached the car, Bui drove away. Shinn fired one shot, hitting Bui in the shoulder.

After a short chase, Bui got out of the car and began to run. Shinn tried to block his path with his patrol car, but hit him and pinned him against a palm tree, according to police.

"Our chief deemed that the officer's actions were not within departmental policy," said Westminster Police Capt. Mitch Waller. He and Lackie declined to discuss the specifics of Shinn's firing, saying personnel matters were confidential.

Shinn also declined to comment. Shinn has one appeal left, Waller said, an arbitration hearing with the Personnel Review Commission. The board will make a recommendation to the City Council, which will make the final decision on Shinn's termination. The hearing may not be until January, Waller said.

"The department has a lot of work to do to establish that there's no solution other than termination," Lackie said.

The California Highway Patrol released a report in May that said Shinn acted unintentionally and accidentally. Two months later, Orange County prosecutors said they would not file charges against him.

Bui's family filed a $40-million claim in August against the city and county. They could not be reached for comment.

Shinn settled two cases accusing him of excessive force, one in 1992 for $100,000, and the other in the early 1990s for $7,500.

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