A sheriff’s deputy and county security officer used reasonable force in fatally shooting a man who stabbed his estranged wife outside the Chatsworth courthouse, where the pair met to discuss their separation and custody of two children, prosecutors determined in a report released Wednesday.
In a 12-page report, the District Attorney’s Office found that Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Rizaldy Reantaso and Los Angeles County Security Officer Gerardo Fabian “acted reasonably and lawfully in defense of others when they used deadly force against Jose Cueva” outside the courthouse on Oct. 31, 2016.
Cueva stabbed his estranged wife in the side and chest, tried to slit her throat and chased after her with the knife as she ran toward the entrance to the courthouse, according to the report.
Cueva refused orders to drop the knife as his estranged wife yelled and screamed for her life, and he was subsequently shot to death because the deputy and security officer believed he would otherwise kill the woman, according to the report.
The woman told authorities she had agreed to met Cueva — her husband of about 23 years and the father of their four children — at the courthouse because she believed it would be safer there with lots of people around, including law enforcement, but he tried to force her to drive away from the courthouse and vowed to “get my revenge,” according to the document.
A courthouse parking lot attendant who saw the woman being attacked yelled at Cueva to stop and then screamed for help, and other civilian witnesses said they believed the woman would have been killed if Cueva had not been shot, according to the report.
The report noted that a video surveillance camera captured a portion of the shooting and confirms that Cueva “relentlessly pursued” his estranged wife, despite the presence of armed law enforcement officers with their guns drawn and pointed at him.
The deputy and the security officer had “no choice” other than to use deadly force in the woman’s defense, according to the report.
Cueva, 55, was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.
The District Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges in connection with the deaths of six other people in deputy- or officer-involved shootings. The cases were:
— the May 24, 2017, shooting of Luis Garcia, who shot a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy twice during a traffic stop of a vehicle in which he had been riding in Compton. The deputy’s partner returned fire, fatally injuring the 25-year-old man, who had warrants for his arrest and was in possession of marijuana, methamphetamine and a fully loaded .38-caliber revolver, according to the District Attorney’s Office;
— the March 4, 2017, death of Alejandro Valencia, who was shot after repeatedly refusing to drop a 5-foot-long pipe, raising the pipe and stepping toward a Los Angeles Police Department officer in downtown Los Angeles. The officer’s digital in-car video system captured audio and video of the run-in, along with video taken by several bystanders, according to a report on the shooting;
— the Jan. 31, 2017, death of Dewayne Picart, who was shot by an LAPD officer at a fast-food restaurant in Hollywood after swinging a knife at a woman outside, stabbing one man inside the business and lunging toward the throat of another victim inside the business, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
— the Dec. 15, 2016, death of Robert Hess, who was fatally shot after threatening to shoot sheriff’s deputies and waving a gun outside a Hacienda Heights home following a report of a family disturbance in Downey, according to the report, which found that “deputies exhausted all other means of gaining control of Hess and had no other viable option but to use deadly force”;
— the Sept. 1, 2016, death of Joshua Quintero, who was shot after pulling a revolver out of his waistband while being pursued by a sheriff’s deputy responding to a 911 call of a shooting in the unincorporated Florence area of Los Angeles; and
— the Feb. 14, 2016, death of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was shot by sheriff’s deputies in East Los Angeles after a traffic stop of a potentially stolen vehicle in which he was a passenger.