Los Angeles County prosecutors have determined that a Gardena police officer acted in lawful self-defense when he fatally shot a 25-year-old man who was suspected of firing a barrage of gunshots last year.
The District Attorney’s Office noted that the evidence showed that Officer Michael Robbins was “in the performance of his duties” while trying to apprehend Kenneth Ross Jr., who “was fleeing the scene of a shooting where he fired multiple rounds and was still armed with the gun he used in that shooting” on April 11, 2018.
“The law does not require Robbins to wait and set eyes on the gun before firing … Under the circumstances, it was reasonable for Robbins to conclude that when Ross cocked his left arm toward him, Ross was drawing his gun to shoot at him, placing Robbins in reasonable fear of serious bodily harm or death,” according to a memorandum prepared by the District Attorney’s Office on the shooting.
A paramedic subsequently found a pink handgun in the left front pocket of Ross’ shorts, and ballistics tests showed that a fired bullet, fired bullet jacket fragment and eight fired 9 mm caliber cartridge cases had been fired from the gun recovered from Ross, according to the document that was publicly released Wednesday.
Police initially believed that one shooter had fired up to 20 rounds outside businesses at 12812 Van Ness Avenue, but a subsequent investigation and ballistics evidence showed that there were two shooters, according to the memorandum.
Ross, who fled from the scene, was shot twice by the officer in the 13200 block of Van Ness Avenue. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The District Attorney’s Office also declined to initiate criminal proceedings against a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and three officers in connection with the in-custody death of Carlos Gonzalez following his Feb. 16, 2017, arrest.
Prosecutors determined that Sgt. Ruben Lopez and Officers Raymond Encinas, Robert Ramirez and Yuanhang Yue “used legally justified force in subduing Gonzalez.”
Gonzalez — who was accused of stealing a two-liter soda bottle from a 7-Eleven store and threatening multiple people with a tool after trying to break into various vehicles — got on the ground as directed by police, but “began resisting when officers attempted to handcuff him,” according to a document analyzing his death.
“It cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that his drug ingestion, coupled with his physical exertion before the officers arrived would not have resulted in cardiac arrest and his subsequent death absent any use of force by the officers,” according to the document.
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