Palm Springs, CA
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said today that the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man by a Palm Springs police officer last year was legally justified.
Abraham Ortiz of Desert Hot Springs was shot just after 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2016 in the parking lot of the Rite Aid at 366 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Police Chief Bryan Reyes said multiple 911 callers reported that Ortiz was making threatening statements, racial and homophobic slurs, and was seen urinating in public and exposing himself.
Two uniformed officers who tried to detain Ortiz got into a struggle while trying to take him into custody, resulting in shots fired, police said. “Our office determined that there was no criminal culpability on the part of the involved officer,” said D.A.’s spokesman John Hall. “That is the only determination our office makes in officer-involved shooting cases. Any determination involving departmental policy is made by the involved agency.”
The shooting came less than a month after the Oct. 8 shooting deaths of Palm Springs police officers Jose “Gilbert” Vega and Lesley Zerebny. Vega, 63, and Zerebny, 27, were gunned down as they responded to a family disturbance call at a Palm Springs residence. A third officer was wounded in the gunfire.
Their alleged killer, 26-year-old John Hernandez Felix, remains in custody, facing charges of murder, attempted murder and numerous firearm-related felonies.