Orange County prosecutors declined Tuesday to file charges against an Anaheim police officer who shot a 23-year-old parolee in the back, saying that the officer believed the man was going for a weapon when he reached for his waistband.
David Raya, 23, was killed by two gunshots to his "rear torso" during a foot chase by Anaheim police Aug. 16, 2011. Prosecutors theorized that the man may have been trying to discard a drug pipe as officers chased him.
Prosecutors determined that Anaheim police investigator Bruce Linn was not criminally culpable for Raya's death when he shot him with a rifle and that the officer had acted in self-defense.
Anaheim police have fatally shot five people this year, sparking street protests, violence and unrest in the community. There have been calls for civilian oversight of the department, particularly from the city's large Latino community.
Raya's family has filed a claim against the city, alleging that the 23-year-old was shot in the back by an officer who is a member of crime task force that they contend operates as a death squad.
Senior Dist. Atty. Alison Gyves noted that Linn was searching for Raya, a gang member on parole for assault with a firearm who was described as armed and dangerous.
As police knocked on the front door of his girlfriend's apartment, Raya jumped from a window and ran down a narrow path.
Linn and investigator Chad Meyer were chasing Raya when "he reached into his waistband, ignoring repeated commands to stop and show his hands," the prosecutor stated.
Gyves said Linn and Meyer had nowhere to seek shelter when Raya reached for his waistband. Fearing for his life and that of his colleague, Linn fired three shots at Raya, she wrote.
Seemingly unharmed, Raya continued to run, jumped over a wall and reached into his waistband again, and Linn fired two more times before the man fell to the ground, according to the prosecutor. Linn and Meyer were the only witnesses.
The prosecutor said that officers recovered a methamphetamine pipe that belonged to Raya and that tests showed he had been under the influence of drugs.