San Diego County

Document Reveals Lessons Learned From 2009 Fatal Escondido Police Shooting of Innocent Bystander

New state law prompts Escondido Police to release new details about the accidental shooting of suspect’s girlfriend.

In 2009, an Escondido Police detective accidentally shot and killed Jennifer Favreau. The tragic shooting happened after Favreau’s boyfriend reportedly aimed his car at police officers who were trying to arrest him for auto theft.  

The District Attorney’s office reviewed that shooting, and cleared Detective Timothy Reiley of criminal liability. 

Escondido Police also concluded that Reiley did not violate department policy and acted in self-defense, based on his statement that Favreau’s boyfriend “drove at a high rate of speed directly at him and other officers.” 

Now, nearly ten years after the shooting, a full version of the department’s post-shooting report -- released in response to a Public Records Act request -- identifies problems with that fatal encounter. 

The report was released this week in part because of a new state law, Senate Bill 1421, that requires law enforcement agencies to release previously secret information about officer-involved shootings, investigations into sexual misconduct by officers, and substantiated reports of officer dishonesty. 

The seven-page report from the department’s Shooting Review Board reveals that Detective Roger Cirilo did not "clearly communicate" to fellow officers that Favreau had gotten in the car with her boyfriend, who was the target of their investigation. 

The report also notes that Detective Reiley, who mistakenly shot Favreau, did not know Favreau was in the car when he and other officers tried to stop the vehicle. 

The shooting review panel was also critical of the department's initial investigation of the fatal encounter. According to the report, the case agent who supervised that investigation asked "leading questions" of the officers involved, "interrupted or spoke over" them, and "at times did not allow the officers to answer questions for themselves." 

The Shooting Review Board concluded that "...several officers were not asked some of the most basic questions, such as, 'Did you fire your weapon?' and 'Why or why not?'" 

The Review Board also recommended specific improvements in officer training and policy reviews to prevent another tragedy, including, “additional training in [reviews of] officer-involved shootings” and more training at the department’s gun range, “regarding the dynamics of shooting at moving threats.” 

NBC 7 Investigates asked Escondido police officials if they made any changes as a result of that internal review, but those officials but have not responded. 

In response to our request for information, the Escondido City Clerk’s office said its initial records review found no reports of sexual assaults or other serious misconduct or dishonesty by Escondido police officers in the last ten years. 

NBC 7 has requested the same information from every law enforcement agency in San Diego County. Though Escondido and three other departments have responded to those requests, other local law enforcement agencies said it will take them months to produce the requested documents. 

NBC 7 will release and report on those law enforcement records as they become available.

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