San Diego

DA Releases Videos in Officer-Involved Shootings

WARNING: Video shown in the DA's briefing may be graphic in nature

The San Diego County District Attorney released video of three shootings involving local officers and deputies and reveal the status of the investigation into each incident.

In one of the incidents, a San Diego County Sheriff's Department off-duty deputy shot a man in a confrontation outside a Vista convenience store. The deputy had just been celebrating at a colleague’s retirement party.

Alejandro Blanco, 32, was shot at least twice on Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 2 a.m. in front of the nearby 7-11 store in the 1500 block of East Vista Way.

Deputy Jason Phillips with the department’s Special Investigations Division was identified as the deputy that opened fire. Sgt. Alejandro Navarro, Deputy Anthony Garcia and Deputy Zheath Sanchez were identified as the three other deputies involved in the incident.

The deputies, who were not uniform, were in a nearby shopping center and walked over to attempt to deescalate the situation, SDSO Lt. Kenneth Nelson said at the time. Blanco put his car in reverse and struck three deputies, officials said.

Phillips fired five shots at the car to stop the threat.

Blanco, who is not a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and to two counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. Blanco’s blood alcohol content was .05.

Officials did not confirm whether the deputies were administered sobriety tests immediately after the shooting.

Dumanis said she was not aware if a sobriety test was administered to the off-duty deputies. She referred NBC 7's question to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

When asked if that would be taken into consideration by the DA’s investigators when determining if procedures were followed, she said, “I think looking at the circumstances of the crime it’s clear they were acting appropriately at the time."

Deputy Jason Phillips and three other San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies were off-duty when they attempted to intervene in a confrontation in front of a convenience store in Vista. This is surveillance video of the incident captured on Sunday, March 27 at 2 a.m. in front of the nearby 7-11 store in the 1500 block of East Vista Way.

Shooting in Fallbrook, July 7, 2016

San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Vanessa Rocha and Deputy Giovani Pantoja were involved in a confrontation with a suspect who was believed to be suicidal with a gun on July 7.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., the deputies arrived to the location on Huffstatler Street, east of Interstate 15 and north of Rainbow Valley Boulevard.

Suspect Jose Armando Garcia, 47, was inside the home. A negotiator began talks with Garcia that lasted several hours. At around 2:30 p.m., Garcia left the home and fired a handgun, deputies said. Deputies returned fire, striking Garcia.

The DA’s Office investigation found the deputies were justified in this instance because they believed they were going to be fired upon by Garcia, Dumanis said.

Garcia had a .04 blood alcohol level. He pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a firearm on a police officer and was sentenced to a six-year prison term, Dumanis said.

Shooting in San Diego, January 24, 2017

San Diego police officers shot a man in the finger near a day care center in Linda Vista.

Ferdinand Gangano Alarcio, 48, ran from officers on Ulric Street toward a day care center off the busy Linda Vista Road, near a library. The Linda Vista Presbyterian Church and a U.S. Post Office were also nearby.

“As the suspect was attempting to climb the fence, armed with a handgun, he posed a significant threat to the children, and the staff," SDPD Capt. Brian Ahearn said.

In an attempt to stop him, the officers shot the suspect, hitting him on the finger, according to Ahearn. The suspect then threw the gun across the fence, where it was later recovered by police and determined to be a dark, metal air-powered BB pistol.

At the time of the incident, approximately 2:15 p.m. on a Tuesday, there were about 100 children and 15 teachers inside the daycare center.

The DA’s Office investigation found the use of deadly force was acceptable under the circumstances.

“Mr. Alarcio intentionally pointed a BB gun which looked very similar to a handgun at a person,” Dumanis said.

Alarcio pleaded guilty to obstructing or resisting an officer by means of threat, use of a dangerous weapon and weapons allegations. He was sentenced to two years, four months in state prison.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office released video concerning the shooting of a man who was armed with a BB gun and jumped the fence of a day care center in Linda Vista.

Shooting in El Cajon, January 1, 2017

Danny Martin Baldwin, 56, was shot four times by an El Cajon police officer at approximately 9 p.m. on January 1. The shooting took place near Second Street and Madison.

Baldwin was spotted walking in traffic carrying a knife, police said. When Baldwin lunged at the officer with the knife, the officer fired his gun, officials said immediately after the shooting.

Body-worn cameras from two angles show the moments before the shooting.

El Cajon Police Officers wearing personal body cameras captured the shooting of a man armed with a knife in  January 2017.

Two officers fired tasers at Baldwin but neither was effective, Dumanis said.

When Baldwin placed the knife to his neck and made two slashing motions, one officer fired his weapon, she said.

Baldwin was shot in the arms and buttocks and survived the shooting. Dumanis said he later apologized to officers.

"Based on the potential danger to the officers and the bystanders by Mr. Baldwin's erratic behavior while armed with a knife and refusing to surrender, the officers' actions were reasonable under the circumstances," the district attorney said.

The second angle of the shooting at Second Street and Madison in El Cajon in January 2017.

The District Attorney's Office is responsible for determining whether a crime was committed in each incident. Video from an officer's body camera may be part of the investigation. 

Dumanis said the DA's Office was releasing the videos in these incidents per the protocol reached with law enforcement agencies.

“With context, video evidence can aid the public in understanding how and why an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Dumanis said.

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