San Diego

San Diego Agrees To Pay $275K For 2014 Officer-Involved Shooting

Payout will settle lawsuit filed by a man who was shot during a narcotics investigation

The City of San Diego has agreed to pay $275,000 to two people who were shot by a police officer in 2014 while they were inside their Encanto apartment.

City councilmembers agreed to pay Henry Gonzales and Clara Castro $275,000 during a July 23 closed session meeting in exchange for ending the lawsuit and avoiding trial. 

According to court documents and information from the District Attorney’s Investigation obtained by NBC 7 Investigates, the shooting occurred on the morning of February 27, 2014. Officers from the San Diego Police Department’s Narcotics Unit were called to an apartment on 64th Street in Encanto on a search warrant.

As officers took their positions around the building, 4-year veteran Kristel Miranda positioned herself at a large living room window. According to the complaint and subsequent investigation, Officer Miranda tapped on the front window. It shattered.

Meanwhile, Miranda said she noticed Henry Gonzales and Clara Castro who had been sleeping on the couch reach for his waistband. Miranda shot three rounds into the apartment. One round struck Gonzales in the left buttock, fracturing his hip. Another bullet ricocheted off the wall and struck Clara Castro in the lower left leg, fracturing her fibula. The last bullet was found in the television set inside the living room.

During a subsequent investigation, Miranda stated that she thought she saw Gonzales reach for his waistband and motioned as if he had a gun in his hand.

Investigators later found Gonzales had silver rings on his fingers. There were no mention of any weapons found inside the apartment in a subsequent investigation. The report did find that Gonzales had tested positive for opiates, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

In a May 2015 review, the District Attorney’s Office justified the shooting finding Officer Miranda, “reasonably believed Mr. Gonzales had a firearm and that she and the entry team were in imminent danger of being shot.”

Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego over the shooting two months before the District Attorney’s Office released their findings.

The San Diego Police Department declined to comment for the story. According to last year’s employment roles, Miranda continues to work for the police force.

Gonzales’ attorney also declined to comment for the story.

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