ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — A plan by Southern California police to release body-worn camera video from officers who responded to a deadly office shooting was quashed by prosecutors.
Police in the city of Orange called a news conference Wednesday to release footage related to the March shooting that killed four people, including a 9-year-old boy. An hour later, police spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Amat reversed course, saying the district attorney was concerned it could jeopardize the case against the suspected shooter. Amat declined to answer questions about the decision.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer sent a letter earlier in the day asking police not to release the nine-minute video they had prepared, which included portions of 911 calls and footage in which gunshots are heard.
“While new laws require your department to release videos after the incident occurs, there are exceptions when there is an on-going criminal prosecution,” Spitzer wrote. “Releasing the video could have a negative impact on the prosecution of this case and the future decisions about this case.”
Prosecutors have charged Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez with four counts of murder. He was wounded in the rampage and has not been arraigned because of his condition, which Amat on Wednesday described as stable.
Authorities have said they will investigate whether the injury was self-inflicted or caused by officers’ gunfire.
Authorities have said Gaxiola knew the victims, including a woman who was wounded and is in stable condition. They said he chained the gates shut to the complex before heading to the office of a mobile home brokerage and fired at officers who arrived at the scene. Police said the officers fired back from behind the fence until the locks securing the gate from inside could be cut.
Ken Morrison, assistant public defender, said attorneys haven’t been able to communicate with Gaxiola to the point where he could be arraigned or enter a time waiver, so a judge has postponed the hearing each day.
The victims killed in the attack were identified as Luis Tovar, 50, who owned the mobile home brokerage; Leticia Solis Guzman, 58; Jenevieve Raygoza, 28 and her brother, Matthew Farias, 9.