San Diego Police Officer Eric Oberndorfer arrived to a pharmacy in Mission Valley on August 28, 2015 and found suspect Robert Hober walking toward him, armed with a box cutter.
In the span of eight seconds, Oberndorfer commanded Hober to “put the knife down”, took at least eight steps back from the approaching suspect and fired his weapon twice.
The encounter captured on the officer’s body camera was one of several video clips released Friday by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis as part of her department’s review of 10 officer-involved shootings in 2014-2015.
“In each and every one of these incidents, the individuals failed to comply with the officer’s commands,” Dumanis said, adding the videos often contain graphic language and images.
Hober, a 54-year-old transient, was shot in the legs and torso by two bullets. He died from his injuries.
A pharmacy employee was on the phone with police when shots were heard in the background. The employee told the dispatcher, "Now he's going towards them with the box cutter," according to the DA's review.
Investigators found the box cutter on the ground in the area where the officer was standing.
The investigation concluded Hober "posed a significant threat" to the officer and that Oberndorfer's actions were justified. Read the report here.
Toxicology test results showed Hober's blood-alcohol level at 0.15 percent.
In releasing video and information of the other investigations, Dumanis said seven individuals had drugs in their systems at the time they were shot. At least three were suicide by cop, she said.
January 26, 2014
Aaron Lee Devenere, 27, was shot and killed on I-15 following a pursuit with San Diego police and California Highway Patrol that stopped on Centre City Parkway in Escondido.
Officials said Devenere took his girlfriend hostage and threatened to have a gun and explosives inside his pickup but no evidence of either was found inside the vehicle after the shooting.
He had methamphetamine and cannabinoids in his system, according to the DA Office’s review.
San Diego Police Officer Richard Butera, a trained sniper, fired one bullet from approximately 51 feet away. He struck Devenere in the head, killing him.
Butera acted reasonably in that he felt the hostage’s life was in danger, according to the District Attorney’s office. Read the full report here.
May 14, 2014
Jose Garcia, 34, was shot and injured by El Cajon Police after a standoff with officers outside is estranged wife’s home. Officer Nicholas Sprecco, Officer Brandon Stanley and Officer Robert Wining fired their weapons after Garcia pointed his gun at officers and pulled the trigger. [[381798071,C]] Garcia later pleaded guilty to assault with a semi-automatic handgun un police officers and was sentenced in June 2015 to eight years in state prison. The shooting was found to be justified. Read the full DA’s investigation here.
July 14, 2014
Ja Ma Lo Day, 21, was shot and killed in City Heights.
Family members called 911 when Day threatened their lives. His brother told NBC 7 Day had previous arrests as well as previous drug use and mental issues in his life.
When police arrived to the home, Day had armed himself with a machete, a large kitchen knife and a meat cleaver.
Officer Kelly Copeland and Officer Javier Morales worked with colleagues to plan a way to capture Day using less-than lethal options.
When Taser barbs missed, Day raised the machete over his head to strike an officer, Copeland and Morales opened fire striking Day in the head and upper body. He died at the scene.
According to the DA’s Office investigation, Day cut a K-9 with a machete and struck an officer before he was shot by police. Officers Copeland and Morales were justified in their actions because, according to the report, they were in “a situation of imminent danger to their fellow officers and themselves.”
Read the investigation report here.
August 6, 2014
Lance Tamyo, 45, was shot and injured in Mission Bay near De Anza Cove. Tamyo had called San Diego Police to tell them he had a weapon and was considering suicide. Approximately 100 school children were attending a youth camp nearby at the time.
When Tamyo pointed his gun at officers, San Diego Police Officer Mike Weaver fired one round from his rifle, striking Tamyo in the abdomen. He survived his injuries and was sentenced to three years probation and psychiatric treatment.
Weaver was justified in his actions according to the DA's review available here.
Feb 16, 2015
Philip McMahon, 27, was injured in a shooting in Mira Mesa.
When McMahon broke a window by banging on the glass, the homeowner inside called for police.
She told police that McMahon was naked and appeared to be “frozen, like a robot, not following commands.
McMahon was unarmed at the time of the shooting. However, the DA’s Office investigation found McMahon charged at responding San Diego Police Officer Christopher Gripp and attempted to take his weapon several times.
He tested positive for marijuana use, according to the DA.
McMahon’s parents told NBC 7 their son suffers from mental illness.
McMahon pleaded guilty to resisting arrest by force and vandalism, according to the DA’s report.
The investigation found Officer Gripp attempted to use control holds and a Taser before opting for deadly force in his confrontation with McMahon. His actions were deemed justified.
Read the investigation report here.
July 3, 2015
Ton Ngoc Nguyen, 60, was shot and killed in Black Mountain Ranch after he charged at an officer carrying a knife, investigators found.
Officers were not equipped with body-worn cameras. Nguyen had a history of mental illness. Read the full report here.
September 28, 2015
Alberto Hernandez, 59, shot and killed in San Ysidro.
He was armed with a replica of a semi-automatic handgun when he pointed the weapon at SDPD police officers outside an apartment complex.
Officers Jeffrey McCoy, Jonathon Wells and Brandon Lull fired at Hernandez several times, killing him.
In the investigation, the gun carried by Hernandez was found to be a BB gun with the orange safety tip removed.
Toxicology results showed Hernandez had a .30 blood-alcohol level and medication for a psychological disorder in his system.
The shooting was ruled justified. Read the full report here.
Oct. 27, 2015
Anthony Ashford, 29, was shot and killed in Point Loma.
Harbor Police Officer Sulimoni Ahfook noticed Ashford looking into cars and stopped his patrol car on North Harbor Drive near Nimitz Boulevard.
Initially, police said Ashford immediately crossed the street in front of the Holiday Inn and attacked the officer.
The DA’s investigation states that the officer grabbed Ashford’s arms from behind to take him into custody on suspicion of criminal activity.
Investigators said there was a struggle and the suspect attempted to take the officer’s weapon. Ashford’s DNA was found on the officers’ Taser, gun holster and portable radio, according to the DA’s review.
No alcohol, drugs or medications were found in Ashford’s system.
The officer was not wearing a body camera and the patrol car’s dashboard camera did not capture the incident.
Investigators found Officer Ahfook fired his weapon in self-defense and should not face criminal charges. Read the full report here.
Nov. 4, 2015
Timothy Smith, 47, was shot and killed in Pacific Beach. Smith was a fugitive described as armed and dangerous and wanted on arrest warrants in Missouri when he was discovered by San Diego Police.
Officers had Smith cornered in an alley between two apartment buildings when the shooting occurred.
According to SDPD Sgt. Scott Holslag’s statement, when Smith put both hands into his pockets, the officer believed he was reaching for a handgun. As Smith began to pull his right hand out of his pocket, Holslag fired his weapon two or three times, striking and killing Smith.
One adult witness and that witness’ child told investigators that Smith’s left hand started to go into the pocket of his cargo shorts when he was shot. A second civilian witness told investigators he heard the officers’ warnings but did not see the shooting.
No weapons were found on Smith’s body following the shooting.
Methamphetamine and cannabinoids were found in his system, the report stated.
The District Attorney’s investigation found the shooting justified, ruling that Holslag’s decision to shoot Smith was reasonable. Read the decision here.
In May, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis publicly released video evidence including personal body camera footage of officers for the first time.
She acknowledged that the policy of sharing such video evidence was new and unfamiliar but necessary "in a world where all kinds of video evidence is becoming more and more prevalent."
The policy of how to release the videos has not been finalized, according to Dumanis.
They are still drafting and crafting a policy for releasing video of officer involved shootings.
“The whole purpose of doing this again, as we did a couple of weeks ago, is so the public can review what we’ve done and give us feedback. And after each, we hope to again, maybe implement that into our policy,” Dumanis said Friday.
She says, so far, community feedback has been positive.
“Most of that framework has been embraced by the community. The only thing that always comes up, and I suggest it would probably come up from you too (media), is ‘we want the video yesterday. We want it right away,’” she said.
Public feedback sessions to solicit citizen involvement in formulating a policy were held last month and included San Diego Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman and Sheriff William Gore.