Orange County prosecutors announced Tuesday they have concluded the fatal shooting in April of a homeless suspect in Anaheim with an extensive criminal history was justified.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office released a letter to Anaheim Police Department Chief Jorge Cisneros that was dated Nov. 27 that explained why criminal charges would not be filed against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Petrica Muntean on April 13.
A woman called authorities on April 12 to report Muntean was “hallucinating and causing a disturbance in the street,” according to the letter to Cisneros from Deputy District Attorney Anna McIntire.
The caller, who was in a car with Muntean, said she was concerned for him.
Officers who responded saw Muntean holding a black semi-automatic handgun near his chin.
Muntean was ordered to drop the weapon, but he refused, ran from police and got away.
At 6:24 a.m. on April 13 police were called to a “disturbance” at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant at 275 S. Harbor Blvd.
Muntean, who was homeless, was causing a disturbance but left before police arrived. Police encountered Muntean sitting on a curb outside the restaurant.
Muntean appeared to have a gun that was hidden by a towel, and he refused to talk to officers, saying, “I didn’t do anything,” McIntire wrote.
Muntean walked away and ignored commands to stop. Police tried but failed to subdue him with less-than-lethal rounds.
Muntean took cover behind a car in an alley and appeared to have a gun, which was later determined to be a BB gun, McIntire said.
One of the officers felt he had no cover and shot Muntean, McIntire said. Another officer who also feared he was going to be shot opened fire.
Muntean was found to have fentanyl and carboxy-THC in his system at the autopsy.
He had a criminal history dating back to 2008 that included vandalism, car theft, grand theft auto, criminal threats, false imprisonment, burglary and resisting arrest.
McIntire said in the letter “there is substantial evidence (the officers’) actions were reasonable and justified under the circumstances when they fatally shot Muntean.”
Muntean was shot by police in Santa Ana on May 14, 2013. In that case, Muntean led police on a chase in a stolen car before being shot through the right arm. Muntean pleaded guilty to fleeing police in December 2013 and sentenced to 16 months in prison.
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