Costco shooting: Off-duty, the LA officer will not face charges

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A federal grand jury on Wednesday declined to bring charges against an off-duty police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill man at a Costco store in Southern California in the month of June.

LAPD Officer Salvador Sanchez, said that he believed that he had been shot when he was hit in the head, while his little son in his arms, as he and his wife were standing in a queue up for food samples at Costco on the 14th of June.


Police say the 32-year-old Kenneth French, was unprovoked when he punched the Guard in the head, and then the French, the parents told authorities that their son is suffering from schizophrenia. He had been taken off his medication due to other medical complications, which may have caused him to lash out, said Dale Galipo, the French, the family’s lawyer.

“For the French, and his mother, Paola franco, in an undated photo.
((Louana (D’Cunha, via AP”, “File”))

Sanchez, a seven-year veteran of the LAPD, fired 10 rounds at the French. He beat the French four times in the back and shoulders of his mother in the stomach, and with his father in the back, and the Corona police officer, George Johnstone, said.

Sanchez’s lawyers are saying that it was self-defense.

“It seems to me that he was at that moment that he had been shot,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said in a press conference on Wednesday with the announcement that there will be no charge.

“He told me, witnesses all around, very soon after, he was shot down and he was reaching back many times, looking at the blood on the back of his head. So that’s the proof of it. This is the evidence that the grand jury be heard. And this is from a range of witnesses surrounding the incident. Yes. The officer, after being struck, he thought that he had been shot, and it was believed that there was an active shooter in front of him.”

The grand jury was presented with a poor quality clip of the video surveillance and the testimony of several witnesses, some of whom were brought to trial.

“All of the evidence has been presented to the grand jury. So, ask yourself this question. If we are not able to get to the 12 members of the jury charge is a matter for a probable cause standard, and how are we going to get beyond a reasonable doubt?” Hestrin said.

Galipo, said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the lack of cost, and is alluded to in the preferential treatment given to a police officer.

Hestrin said: “I categorically reject the notion that this officer was given special treatment. We will be treated as an officer-involved shooting. This is how to handle officer-involved shootings.”


The French family has a cause of action against the Guard and the LAPD, and their lawyer says they plan to file a federal lawsuit next month.

The GAME is also conducting an administrative investigation into the question of whether the Guard followed the department’s policies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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