Body camera footage showing the tense moments following the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old Sacramento man by three Rocklin police officers in February was made public Friday, even as the department continues to conduct an administrative investigation into the incident.
The release included 911 calls, in-car-camera footage and body camera video recorded from two of the three officers, Breanna Adams and Cpl. Chris Osborne, who fired their weapons at Lorenzo Cruz on Feb. 25. Officers were told a man had broken into a home at 10:01 a.m. in the 4900 block of Bradford Place in Rocklin.
No camera footage was released for John Constable, the third officer at the scene. None of the officers turned on the cameras until after the shooting, though department protocol is to activate them in most instances, including stops, pursuits or when they believe they may make an arrest or detain someone. Officers are not expected to jeopardize their safety to activate the cameras, the policy says.
Kellan Patterson, the attorney for the Cruz family, said the family saw the video and other documents in connection to the shooting before they were released to the public. He said the footage, audio files and police reports submitted did not provide a clear understanding of the shooting itself.
“Their release didn’t really do much to answer the question that was pertinent,” Patterson said. “Any objective information that existed about whether deadly force was necessary was not recorded because the officers neglected to turn on their cameras.”
Officers had several minutes to turn on their cameras before arriving to the scene, he said.
The department said the three officers saw Cruz run into an unlocked Honda parked in a driveway that morning and shot him after he allegedly pointed a replica handgun at them. The officers did not know the gun was not real and shot in fear for their life, the department said.
“He f---ing pointed that gun right at me,” Constable is heard saying moments after the shooting in one of the videos.
Adams walks up to the driveway from behind a patrol car, approaching the two men as the three continued to point their guns at the Honda where Cruz sat, her body camera video shows.
“The handgun is lying on the center console,” Constable said a short while later.
“OK, I see it, it’s right under his hand,” Osborne replies.
Cruz sits in the passenger’s seat but is not clearly shown until he is pulled out of the car.
The Rocklin Police Department, as well as the Placer County District Attorney’s review of the incident, said Cruz was shot about 90 minutes after Rocklin police first spotted the 23-year-old.
An officer tried to pull him over at 8:39 a.m. for a vehicle stop at Sunset and Whitney boulevards, a little more than 3 miles away from the Bradford Place driveway, where he died. A police report submitted in the release said the officer believed the car had an expired registration sticker. Cruz was driving a gray Daewoo and did not pull over for the officer, who chose not to follow him after determining the pursuit would put the community’s safety at risk.
Dispatchers later received several 911 calls of someone driving erratically and crashing a silver sedan at 9:45 a.m. into the gate of a gated community on Crest Drive and Hillcrest Road.
“I was just walking my dog and I heard a big bang,” one of the callers said. “I ran up here and someone ran into the closed gates of, like, a closed-unit home. They just basically did a hit and run.”
Lt. Scott Horrillo, a Rocklin Police Department spokesman, said a license plate from Cruz’s Daewoo was found at the scene.
About 15 minutes later, dispatchers received a call from a woman at a home on Bradford Place. She said her husband had confronted someone who ran a car into her RV and was standing outside their home. The man, identified as Cruz, then broke into the house through a window but fled after he was confronted by the homeowner.
The wife told dispatchers she was upstairs and her husband, who she described as a retired law enforcement officer, was armed with a gun.
“He came around into the kitchen, I pointed at him and told him to freeze,” the woman’s husband told officers after the shooting. “He took off running.”
A toxicology report determined Cruz had methamphetamine, amphetamine and THC in his system at the time of the shooting. The 23-year-old was not known to do meth but could have possibly consumed marijuana laced with the drug, Patterson said.
“To me, if he was looking for a confrontation with someone, he had many opportunities to have that confrontation,” Patterson said. “But every time, he bolted.”
Horrillo said though the department was close to finishing their administrative review, they released the video and other documents in connection to the shooting because the Placer County district attorney’s criminal view had been completed and they wanted to provide the public with “as much information as possible.”
All three officers returned to normal duty three weeks after the shooting, Horrillo said. He declined to comment on whether any faced disciplinary actions. The department began using body cameras about two years ago.
Patterson said Cruz’s family would continue to seek more information before deciding whether to pursue legal action. Family members did not reply to a request for comment Saturday afternoon.