Monday night, the Oxnard Police Department put out a film showing how officers shot and killed an Oxnard man on April 7.
Christian Baltazar Torrez, who was 18, was shot in the 2000 block of East Bard Road. He was said to have threatened people with a knife.
Around 6 p.m., Torrez walked up to officers with a 3-inch knife in his hand and refused to drop it, even though the officers told him to. In the end, things got worse, and a police officer shot the 18-year-old. Torrez was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, but they said he was dead soon after.
The agency’s video is 20 minutes long and has audio from 911 calls, surveillance footage from a personal security camera, and clips from body-worn cameras worn by each of the five police officers who arrived.
Oxnard Police Chief Jason Benites introduced the video and said it was put online to answer questions about what happened and stop people from spreading false information.
Benites said, “This video is not meant in any way to give an opinion or analysis of what happened.” “Its only purpose is to show facts. It only talks about the event itself and nothing else.”
The chief also talked about how cops are trained to use “less lethal” weapons like stun guns and guns that shoot bean bags as a first line of defense. Before Torrez was shot with a regular gun, both were used on him.
The next person to talk was Assistant Chief Christopher Williams, who talked about the names of the four officers and one captain who answered the 911 calls.
Officer Jarrod Sheffield, who has worked for the Oxnard Police Department for two years, was found to be the one who shot Torrez. Sheffield fired four handgun shots at Torrez. Benites said that Sheffield is still on paid administrative leave, but he doesn’t know when he’ll be back.
Sgt. Todd Johnson used a stun gun on Torrez, and officers Randi Vines and Dan Casse and Kyle Hay drew their guns but did not fire them. Since then, each has gone back to his patrol tasks.
Williams said that all five of the cops who came to help were part of the department’s patrol unit. Authorities have said that none of them have been investigated for fatal use of force while working for the Oxnard Police Department.
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Audio and Video of the Event
The video has sounds from two 911 calls that told police about Torrez. The first call is made in Spanish by a man who says Torrez is in the truck of the person making the call. The second person, an English-speaking woman, said that Torrez threatened her husband with a knife while he was out with their kids.
Williams then talks about what happened while a diagram shows where Torrez and the five officers were at the time of the meeting. He said that when the police came, Torrez was still in the truck and it took him about five minutes to get out.
Torrez had a knife in his hand as he walked up to the cops. Even though the cops told Torrez to stop in both English and Spanish, he kept coming toward them even after he was hit with a Taser and a beanbag shot.
After the beanbag shot knocked Torrez to the ground, Sheffield shot him when he got back up. After Torrez was shot four times, cops called an ambulance and started giving him first aid and CPR. He was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about an hour after the first word of what happened.
In the agency’s film, Torrez is seen with a knife in his left hand and a plastic bag in his right. This is shown by footage from a personal security system. He was also holding a bag of clothes. He looks like he is moving his mouth, but there is no sound in the video.
The body-worn camera footage shows the scene from the point of view of each of the five responding cops, starting with Johnson, then Vines, Hay, Casse, and finally Sheffield. Each of the cops is heard on the video telling Torrez to “get on the ground” and “drop it.” Some clips have been changed to slow down the action and show Torrez dropping the knife after Sheffield shoots him.
At the end of the movie, Benites talks about how to investigate a shooting involving an officer.
The department’s Major Crimes Unit is looking into the event from a criminal point of view, and the Professional Standards Division is looking into it from an internal point of view to see if the use of deadly force was in line with policy and if the officer will be disciplined in any way.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is involved in a third investigation. This office looks at the Major Crimes case and does its own legal review of the event. In the end, the DA’s results are put into a public report.
All three inquiries are still going on. Detective Charles “Chip” Buttell can be reached by phone at 805-385-7688 or by email at email@example.com.
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