CORONA (CBSLA) – A former Los Angeles police officer has been charged in connection with a 2019 shooting inside a Corona Costco which killed an intellectually disabled man and critically wounded his parents.
The California Attorney General announced Monday that Salvador Sanchez has been charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic handgun.
He was taken into custody Monday morning in Riverside County.
On the night of June 14, 2019, 32-year-old Kenneth French of Riverside and his parents, Russell and Paola, were shot by off-duty LAPD Officer Salvador Sanchez while in line at a sample station at a Costco in Corona.
Grainy surveillance video appeared to show a physical altercation between French and Sanchez prior to the shooting. Sanchez, who had been holding his 18-month-old son, fired off 10 rounds from a handgun. In March, Corona police released bodycam footage of their officers responding to the scene. In the footage, Sanchez tells officers that he opened fire after believing that he himself had been shot.
The shooting created chaos in the store, sending shoppers scurrying for the exits. Corona police officers had initially responded to reports of an active shooter.
The Los Angeles Police Commission later determined that Sanchez acted outside department policy.
"If people really think this was egregious as a father and as a police officer then he could be found guilty," Alexandra Kazarian, a legal expert, told CBSLA. "But it's going be really hard to prosecute."
David Winslow, a former attorney for Sanchez, argued Monday that the new charges are a political stunt.
"It's a politically motivated program to prosecute police officers," Winslow said. "And Mr. Sanchez was not acting as a police officer when this happened. He was acting as a father holding his baby."
Sanchez's bail was set at $155,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
"I'm all for charges on him," said Charles LeBlanc, a neighbor of Sanchez. "At least manslaughter. At least do some time."
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