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Deputy's Gunfire `Looks Terrible,' Says Sheriff; D.A. Awaits FBI Report

San Bernardino County district attorney gets sheriff's findings on the taped shooting in Chino.

February 11, 2006|Lance Pugmire and Ashley Powers | Times Staff Writers

San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod on Friday said his agency has completed its investigation into a controversial shooting by a deputy in Chino last month, but would leave it to prosecutors to decide what legal action, if any, to take against the deputy.

Penrod, in his first news conference about the Jan. 29 incident, said a videotape of the shooting recorded by a bystander "looks terrible," but he stopped short of criticizing the deputy.

In the recording, the deputy is seen shooting Air Force security officer Elio Carrion, who was a passenger in a car involved in a high-speed pursuit.

The tape shows Deputy Ivory John Webb Jr. apparently ordering Carrion, who was unarmed and sprawled on the ground, to "get up" and then firing on the airman when he complies.

Penrod said the findings from his department's investigation were turned over to the San Bernardino County district attorney's office, which will determine whether to charge Webb with a crime.

The district attorney can declare the shooting legally justified, decide to not file charges because prosecutors don't think a crime can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or file charges ranging from accidental discharge of a firearm to attempted murder, Penrod said.

"We are in receipt of the [sheriff's] report. However, there are numerous investigative items that are still outstanding," Dist. Atty. Michael Ramos said.

"In order to do a complete, impartial and thorough review of the case, it is necessary to have these items completed," Ramos said.

Among those items are a forensic analysis of the videotape to be performed by the FBI, and interviews with witnesses, said district attorney spokeswoman Susan Mickey.

The FBI also is investigating whether Carrion's civil rights were violated.

The district attorney's office said it had reviewed 130 officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths since 2000 without filing a criminal case, and the office has never filed a charge against any county officer involved in an on-duty shooting.

Penrod said his department also planned to launch an internal affairs investigation to determine whether Webb's actions complied with department policy, a review that could result in the deputy's dismissal.

Carrion, 21, is recovering at an undisclosed medical facility.

The sheriff said he expected a criminal charge to be filed against the driver of the blue Corvette that Webb pursued. Luis Fernando Escobedo, 21, of Montclair, was arrested on suspicion of felony evading arrest, but was later released with charges pending.

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