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Off-duty Gardena police officer kills attacker in Anaheim

An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man who attacked him at a Del Taco in Anaheim on Sunday afternoon, police said.

The officer, a 10-year veteran of the Gardena Police Department, was with his young daughter at the Del Taco on Lincoln Avenue and Rio Vista Street, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim Police Department. The officer, whom Martinez declined to name, was in plainclothes.

As the officer walked out of the restaurant about 3:45 p.m., a 39-year-old man began to attack the off-duty officer “for some unknown reason,” Martinez said. He said the suspect hit the officer with his hands and pummeled him into the corner of the restaurant. 

The officer tried to push the man off, but the man continued to assault the officer, Martinez said.

The officer then pulled out a handgun and fired at least one round at close range on the suspect, he said. The suspect was hit in the abdomen. He later died.

 The officer suffered at least one broken rib and possibly a broken jaw and nose, Martinez said.

Around a dozen people were inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred, he said.

Before the shooting, the suspect was seen walking in and out of stores in the shopping center near the Del Taco, Martinez said. Witnesses reported that the man was talking to himself and appeared to be agitated and acting unusual, he said. Martinez said the man may have been under the influence of drugs.

Martinez did not know whether the Gardena Police Department was conducting an investigation on the officer-involved shooting.

-My-Thuan Tran

Comments () | Archives (27)

Nice that a cop gets attacked, who has the means to protect himself and young daughter. Not Joe average who is denied his constitunial right to carry a firearm.

perfect example of why california should have open carry and CCW laws. what would have happened if this wasn't a law enforcement officer?!

Just think, if this had been Joe Average in the Del Taco he could have been beaten to death before the police officers would have arrived to help.

To my thinking, just another reason why any law abiding citizen should have CCW rights.

Sounds like we have a vigilante while off duty.Is he concealing his weapon on a sunny saturday afternoon,also if he is allowed to carry a gun should he also not his shield?This would avoid any type actions like this in the future.Sounds like they met in the doorway and words escalated into shoves and on into slugs.Why the officer wants to bring a gun to a fistfight is typical vigilante behaviour.I would not doubt it if our perp were shot in the back,multiple times.Looks like the physical defense and gym classes are a waiste of money when one cant knockout/subdue unruly patron (alone).Heck be a fatso,hide the gun better,get into a lot of fights and shoot dead people,oh yeah bring daughter with you to indocrinate her into your lifestyle and alibi.All this off duty pig had to do was step aside,grab his dauughter,rush to their vehicle and once inside he calls for backup.The drunk/beligerant guy is arrested without fanfare or major incident.Off duty officer goes home without the trauma of killing someone in front of his own young daughters eyes.I firmly believe that if in the not so distant future he tells her "hey lets go grab some burgers" she will reply without hesitation "can we mage it drive thru".This pig obviously cant control a situation,a fight or his triger happy finger in that fight.Clearly displaying a shoot to kill mentality on a poor mentally disturbed man at the most.Not a bank robber or murderer but a man simply wanting a hamburger as well.I think this officer has a pattern of violence on his record.

We don't need to be Texas and have everybody and their momma carrying a weapon. All the drinking that goes on in Cali, the murder rate will spike tremedously.

Great story. This "Off Duty" cop has the legal right to protect himself and his family, 24/7 and under any circumstances, but also has the right to arrest you for doing the same. I say allow concealed carry in California, or take away the CCW right from off duty cops.

I almost got attacked by a homeless nutjob/druggie one day last year with my wife waiting in a outside fastfood line. For some reason he locked on to me, it was scary because I was unarmed and the cops would not have made it on time. Grabbed the wife and just left for the car, he followed and tried to kick the car as I drove off. I saw the nutjob challenging cars in his crosswalk several weeks latter, attacking cars trying to make right turns with a bicycle. I think they finally got him off the street. Citizens should not be disarmed, no CCW in my County, with these people running around freely. Why should Cops only be able to protect their lives. I guess my life means nothing just my taxes.

Hopefully, with the upcoming 2nd Amendment case in the Supreme Court, the local laws against handguns will be repealed. I for one welcome allowing citizens to be armed. It's the only realistic way to prevent harms such as these, which happen everyday all too frequently, good areas and bad. However, training in guns should be a requisite, similar to being licensed to operate a vehicle. While there will be accidents and unfortunate events, including more criminals arming themselves, in my opinion, it will greatly lower the crowding in prisons and death row and taxpayer $ used for parole officers, prison guards, etc.

GREAT COMMENTS about CCW Laws in California.
Q. Hey DA and OIS. How come this officer gets to resort to Deadly Force on a civil battery. Yeah, dead men tell no tales, but how come he gets a free ticket on deadly force? Yes, the average Joe or Jane would have been arrested on the spot for weapons violations and man-slaughter to say the least. Is it because he was in possession of a child? Or maybe he was just a PO and it was just because! Treat him like any other Average Joe and you will have at least a 2nd degree criminal filing for man-slaughter. Lets see if the forensics tell a different story...... Amazing..................

Glad that the officer was able to defend himself and family, now if CA would just allow the rest of us peasants that right....

Two words...

"Nice shooting!"

Darn I eat at Del Taco. Now I gotta find another restaurant. How could I be safe at Del Taco any more. Cops on steroids eating junk food scares me. But I do agree with, MikeS,CS, Baldursson.

Oh I be the Joe in joe average. But what kind of rounds did the officer have in his gun? If it be birdshot maybe innocent people would not be in harms way. What if the officer missed and accidently shot his own daughter? Or another harmless patron? Question him on the rounds. Are they the cop killer rounds? Hallow point?

To: Davidozone - Uh, unless you were there, that's a lot of speculating on your part. According to CBS 2 news coverage on T.V., there were many witnesses who stated that the began attacking and throwing punches WITHOUT any confrontation, let alone words or shoving being involved... that's why the news report states that this guy might have been high on drugs prior to the incident.

Hope the officer makes a speedy recovery. He probably saved innocent civilians from harm. If he could badly pummel someone as young, fit, and trained as this police officer probably was, he might have killed a weaker victim.

I think davidozone has anger issues.

but did he really need to pull out his gun? couldn't he have used a taser or something else? shooting someone seems a BIT much dont you think?

Seems like nothing in the law is to protect citizens. The average Joe can't protect himself from dirt bags , the police told me to move the last time I was victimized, then arrested me for protecting myself. Think its time to leave them to each other, I'm leaving in two months or less. I look forward to when I can read L.A. news from somewhere citizens have rights other than being victimized by both sides.

This del taco is walking distance from my house. It's located at my cross streets. I personally have seen a guy that's been around that area talking to himself and walking around just a couple of days ago. If you put yourself in this man's shoes and your just casually eating at a place with your little daughter and was caught off guard by a man that attacks you. You would defend yourself by any means..I'm sure. Because what if this man hurts you and runs off with your child.

Why are off duty cops allowed to carry guns? He should have called 911 and waited for the police to come. If he is off duty he is just a regular citizen.

I heard this story on the news and it made me curious the news stated that the officer was with his young daughter and walked outside leaving her behind in the Del Taco. My question is did this officer try to act like John Wayne and handle this situation. Supposedly the officer walked outside leaving his daughter inside the resturaunt and the assailant followed him outside of resturaunt. Was the man provoked by the officer and called outside. Why would the officer walk outside the resturaunt leaving his young daughter alone. He could also provide better nutrition for his daughter than Del taco. Maybe a donut shop or something. I believe he handled this in more of a personal matter. Anyone else would be tried for Murder. He got his butt kicked and had a bruised ego and used the ultimate force. Why can't he have had a tazer gun instead of a pistol?

When a person suffers multiple broken bones, that is not classified as a civil battery in California. The injuries escalated the offense to a violent felony.

An off duty police officer in California is not a private citizen restricted from carrying a firearm. Instead, he/she is an off duty peace officer with full authority to carry a loaded and concealed firearm thanks to President George W. Bush and HR 218.

As a retired police officer with authority to carry a firearm while off duty (HR 218), I would have tried my best to avoid the confrontation. I would have been a really good WITNESS for responding officers. However, I was not there and do not know if the off duty officer had the opportunity to deescalate or back off.

I would NEVER want to engage in a use of deadly force with my child present, unless I had no alternative. If I was forced to use that level of force in front of my child, he/she would have been prepared, to the best of my ability, to process and understand what was occurring, long before the incident happened.

With respect to open carry and CCW/CHL laws, California IS an open carry state as long as your gun is unloaded. However, I would not recommend doing so as the hassle is not worth the freedom of exercising your California and U.S. rights.

If you want a CCW permit, there are legal ways to obtain them in California. One way is to move into a county where the Sheriff is pro-gun. Another way is to move to a pro-gun state (Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, etc.). A third way is to vote for people who share your position with respect to gun rights. Frankly, this entire discussion may soon be moot because of current and future US Supreme Court cases.


I guess you all that object to him having a gun on him, and shooting the guy should all be glad it wasn't you he was attacking. Every state need to have the CCW law maybe then there wouldn't be as many crimes, because the bad guy doesn't know who has one either??? Just a thought!

"the murder rate will spike tremedously."

This is said in every state before a shall-issue CCW is passed. Never happens.

Sorry to hear an officer was assaulted in front of his family, but glad he was able to defend himself.

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