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Officer recalls shooting's aftermath

Lawmen arriving after the shooting testify that Deputy Ivory Webb told them Elio Carrion had tried to attack him before shots were fired.

June 08, 2007|Maeve Reston | Times Staff Writer

The San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy who shot an Air Force enlisted man at the end of a car chase told his commanding sergeant and the first Chino police officer to arrive at the scene that the airman had tried to attack him, according to court testimony Thursday.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Swigart said he questioned then-Deputy Ivory John Webb Jr. as soon as he arrived at the shooting scene, a residential street in Chino where the Corvette that Webb chased at more than 100 mph crashed. The 23-year-old airman, Elio Carrion, the car's passenger, was lying on the street with three bullet wounds.

Swigart said on the witness stand that Webb told him he had instructed the passenger several times to stay down -- at one point kicking Carrion to get him back on the ground.

"He said he told the guy, 'If you get up again, I'll shoot you,' " Swigart testified.

Webb said that "the guy lunged at him and he shot him three times," Swigart testified.

The testimony of Swigart and Chino Det. Brian Cauble could be critical as the San Bernardino County jury determines Webb's state of mind when he fired and decides whether he is guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm for shooting Carrion, who was home on leave after a six-month tour in Iraq.

The incident was videotaped by a bystander, and prosecutors filed charges against Webb after concluding the video showed Webb shooting Carrion as the senior airman followed the deputy's order to "get up, get up."

In an interview after seeing the video last year, Webb told detectives he fired because Carrion appeared to be reaching into his Oakland Raider jacket for a weapon.

Webb's attorney, Michael Schwartz, has said the deputy's varying statements can be reconciled because he gave brief statements at the scene but was able to explain details in the longer interview.

"It's pretty clear it was a very brief conversation [with the sergeant] for the purposes of organizing the scene," Schwartz said after testimony Thursday.

Cauble, the first officer to arrive at the shooting scene, testified that he jumped out of his patrol car with his handgun drawn to assist Webb, who was holding the two men at gunpoint.

The Chino officer said he had enough light to see the driver of the Corvette still in the car leaning over the center console showing his empty hands. Cauble said he asked Webb what he "was working."

"He told me the subject had tried to attack him," Cauble testified. He then flipped on the tape-recorder on his belt, he testified.

In the recording played for the jurors, the driver of the Corvette, Luis Escobedo, is heard shouting at the officers, "Look at my hands, look at my hands.... I'm not doing nothing wrong!"

Cauble tells Escobedo he can see his hands, then speaks to Webb. "We've got everybody coming to you, bro," Cauble says, as sirens wail in the background.

"Mother ... gonna get up, trying [to] ... attack me," Webb responds.

Escobedo disputes that and says, "He told him to get up."

"Shut ... up, shut ... up!" Webb shouts.

Cauble testified that during the exchange, Webb took several steps toward Escobedo with his gun drawn.

"Settle down, man," Cauble said he told Webb.

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