A former police officer has been arrested after he allegedly shot three people and killed one at a California Costco.
Salvador Sanchez was charged with voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
The shooting took place while Sanchez was off-duty during a Costco shopping trip in Corona, California, near Los Angeles on June 14, 2019. Bonta announced the charges this week, more than two years after the shooting.
According to court documents, Sanchez shot and killed Kenneth French, 32, inside the Costco.
Sanchez was with his young son in the store when he was allegedly attacked from behind by French, who was described by his family as non-verbal and intellectually disabled, USA Today reported.
Sanchez was knocked to the ground and quickly opened fire, according to USA Today.
Sanchez also allegedly shot and wounded Kenneth’s parents, Russell French, 58, and Paola French, 59.
Sanchez allegedly told investigators he believed French had a gun and that his life and his son’s life were in imminent danger, according to USA Today.
Authorities say French was not armed and was moving away from Sanchez when the officer opened fire, USA Today reported.
Kenneth French had recently been taken off his medication for mental illness due to other health issues, the family’s lawyer said, according to USA Today. Police said this might have changed his behavior that night.
Following a review of the incident by the Attorney General’s Office, Sanchez now faces a total of three felony charges for his actions that resulted in the death of one person and serious injury of two others.
“Where there’s reason to believe a crime has been committed, we will seek justice,” Bonta said. “That’s exactly what these charges are about: pursuing justice after an independent and thorough review of the evidence and the law. Ultimately, any loss of life is a tragedy and being licensed to carry a gun doesn’t mean you're not accountable for how you use it. No matter who you are, nobody is above the law.”
Sanchez was a seven-year veteran of the LAPD at the time of the shooting, according to USA Today.
The LAPD says Sanchez was terminated from the agency in July 2020, but it declined further comment on Sanchez’s arrest, USA Today reported.
French’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit against Sanchez and the city, according to USA Today.
Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe to cover expenses related to the shooting. It has raised $72,130 of its $100,000 goal as of Aug. 10.
“This is the most horrific tragedy of our lives,” Jac Shureih wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This doesn’t even feel real. This is the kind of thing you see in movies. Kenneth was unarmed and was shot multiple times and now he is gone forever.”
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