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California Briefing | LA HABRA

Police shooting is ruled justified

June 27, 2008|H.G. Reza

Two police officers who shot a man 11 times acted legally when they killed him on New Year's Eve because the victim threatened one of them with a tire iron, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Thursday.

"This appears to be a justifiable homicide," Rackauckas said at a meeting with leaders of Southern California's Korean American community.

A spokeswoman said it was only the third time the district attorney had sat down with a community group to discuss an investigation of a police shooting.

Michael Cho, 25, was agitated and reacted in a bizarre manner when the officers, with guns drawn, ordered him to drop the weapon, Senior Assistant Dist. Atty. Jim Tanizaki said.

Tanizaki, who helped supervise the investigation, said police had responded to calls that Cho was vandalizing cars.

Instead of complying with the officers' orders, he walked away, Tanizaki said.

When an officer got in front of him, he said, Cho raised the tire iron as if to hit him.

Both officers fired because they thought Cho, an artist and UCLA graduate, "could and would hurt people," Tanizaki said.


-- H.G. Reza

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