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Fatal shooting by police probed

December 06, 2007|Nardine Saad | Times Staff Writer

Authorities on Wednesday were looking into the death of an allegedly unarmed schizophrenic man shot by Garden Grove police over the weekend.

Trinidad Ornelas, 46, was shot by officers who had responded to a domestic violence call about 4:30 p.m. Sunday at his residence in the 12000 block of Barbara Avenue, police said.

Arriving at the scene, police said, the officers found Ornelas -- who allegedly had been choking his mother -- in the frontyard. The ensuing confrontation escalated from a verbal exchange into a physical fight, according to a statement by police.

Ornelas' family, speaking through an attorney, contend that the officers followed him into the house, where they allegedly beat and kicked him to the floor. The attorney, Thomas E. Beck, said the victim was a schizophrenic who was off his medication at the time.

Ornelas was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead about an hour after he was shot.

Beck said that previous encounters between Ornelas and police were successfully quelled without violence. "The ones that had experience with him," he said, "were not the folks that showed up on Sunday night."

The incident is being investigated by the Orange County district attorney's office.

nardine.saad@latimes.com

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