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Orange County won't charge officer who killed man

March 17, 2009|Paloma Esquivel

Prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges against an Anaheim police officer who shot and killed an innocent 20-year-old man in his frontyard in October, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The Orange County district attorney's investigation was limited to determining whether a crime was committed when the officer shot Julian Alexander late last year, said spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder.

Prosecutors "can't prove that a crime has occurred beyond a reasonable doubt," she said, adding that the D.A.'s investigation itself would not be made public.

The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 24, when Alexander heard a commotion and emerged from his house holding what authorities say was either a broomstick or a shower rod.

He ran into an Anaheim police officer who was chasing burglary suspects, and the officer shot him twice in the chest. Alexander was handcuffed and taken to UCI Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Within hours of the shooting, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said Alexander was innocent of any wrongdoing and apologized for the shooting, calling it "a tragic situation."

Alexander's family expressed frustration Monday with the D.A.'s decision.

"They admitted they shot an innocent man, and now they're saying we're not going to file any charges and we're not going to give you any more information. To me that's the most inhumane treatment of a grieving family," Alexander's mother, Sheryl Bell, said in a telephone interview.

"We're asking for more accountability, more transparency in the process -- an independent commission."

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, was placed on paid leave shortly after the incident. He was back on patrol by mid-December.

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paloma.esquivel@latimes.com

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