Crime - Sacto 911

Rocklin officers who shot former honor student didn’t turn on body cameras until later

In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration in Los Angeles.
In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration in Los Angeles. AP

Three Rocklin police officers who shot and killed a man after he allegedly pointed a pellet gun at them failed to activate their bodycameras before the shooting, a lawyer for the dead man’s family said Friday.

The shooting happened Saturday after Rocklin dispatchers received a 911 call at 10 a.m. of a residential burglary in progress in the 900 block of Bradford Place, according to a news release. The department identified Lorenzo Antoine Cruz, 23, of Sacramento as the suspect.

The family’s lawyer, Kellan Patterson, described Cruz as a former honor roll student who loved to play soccer and lived in the Sacramento region for most of his life.

A GoFundMe page started for Cruz’s memorial services said he left behind four brothers and four sisters. Cruz graduated from high school with honors, receiving two awards of achievement: one from a group that honors African American student excellence and another from the Livermore Valley school district, it said.

“Lorenzo then enrolled in Job Corps to follow in his older brother’s footsteps of being a construction worker,” the fundraising page said. “His last few months on earth he was doing all he can to help his sick mother who suffered a light stroke recently.”

Patterson, the family’s attorney, said: “The family is skeptical about the situation mainly because if you have a policy and these officers are trained to turn on their body camera, and all three failed … it kind of gives you pause.”

Rocklin Police Department spokesman Lt. Scott Horrillo confirmed that the three officers – identified as Chris Osborne, John Constable and Breanna Adams – were wearing body cameras but did not activate the devices prior to arriving on scene.

“They actually turned them on right after the incident,” Horrillo said. “So it was on for part of the incident but not the entire portion.”

Saturday’s officer-involved shooting began when residents of a home on Bradford Place reported hearing pounding on the back of their sliding glass door and a window breaking. Cruz allegedly had broken a window in the laundry room and entered the house, police said.

The homeowner confronted Cruz, who fled to a neighboring house where he attempted to open a gate and hop over a fence, police said.

He was shot after getting into a parked silver Honda at another home. One officer approached the driver-side window and saw the suspect pointing a gun at him, police said. Two other officers also saw the pointed gun. All three officers, fearing for their lives, shot at Cruz, the department said.

Investigators later determined the gun was an airsoft pellet pistol with its orange tip – meant to show it wasn’t a real firearm – painted over.

The Rocklin Police Department’s body-worn camera policy directs officers to turn on the cameras in several instances, including any time officers make a stop or when an officer “reasonably believes they will make an arrest or detention.”

Use of force and vehicle or foot pursuits are also listed in the department directive.

Horrillo said an investigation into the incident, including whether the police officers followed proper department protocol, was still underway. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office will conduct its own investigation into the shooting.

Other footage, such as video captured by in-car cameras, may also exist, Horrillo said. The three officers involved remained on paid administrative leave Friday.

“We’re doing our best to be as transparent and forthcoming as we can,” the police spokesman said. “It’s a difficult time for everyone involved.”

Cruz’s family is planning a private memorial service, Patterson said.

“First things first, (the family) is going through the grieving process,” the lawyer said. “As information begins to flow in again, we will make another assessment.”

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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