The San Diego County District Attorney ruled deputies involved in a deadly 2018 shooting in Alpine acted in self-defense.
Daniel Ayala was shot and killed by deputies in November of 2018. The DA’s office released body-worn camera video of the incident Wednesday.
Deputies from the SDSO’s Alpine station were dispatched to Ayala’s home after neighbors reported he appeared to be drunk or high drugs and was screaming and talking about killing people. They also said he had his 5-year-old son with him.
Body camera video from two of the three deputies involved shows one deputy knocking on the door a total of three times over a two-minute time span. Two other deputies stand a few feet away on the second story landing of an apartment building.
On the third knock, the deputy yells, “Nobody’s in trouble. We just need to talk to you real quick.”
That’s when the figure of a man can be seen behind the metal screen door and a butcher knife slashes through the screen. One deputy can be heard calling out “Knife, knife, knife” as Ayala lunges at them with the knife in his hand.
That’s when the deputies fire several shots and Ayala drops to the ground.
NBC 7 shared the video with retired El Cajon Police Department officer Kevin LaChappelle, who now teaches criminal justice classes at National University.
“I’ve seen police shootings that were, unfortunately, questionable. This was definitely not one of them,” LaChappelle said.
He said the officers had no choice but to shoot once Ayala charged them with the knife.
“It happened too fast, he was too close to them,” he said.
Ayala’s son was not hurt in the incident.
The deputies have also been cleared by the Sheriff Department’s Critical Incident Review Board. They continue to work at the Alpine Sheriff’s Station.