Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

San Diego D.A. clears 7 officers who killed suspect in cop's death

May 21, 2012 |  8:15 pm

Dejon White
San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis has cleared of any criminal liability the six San Diego police officers and one probation officer who fired 36 shots at a 23-year-old man suspected of having shot a police officer half an hour earlier.

The officers opened fire on Dejon White when he refused commands to get out of his car and instead grabbed a shotgun, Dumanis said in a letter clearing the officers. White was dead at the scene.

An investigation later confirmed that White had fired point-blank at Officer Jeremy Henwood while Henwood sat in his patrol car at a stoplight in the City Heights neighborhood. The incident occurred the afternoon of Aug. 6.

White was quickly identified as having shot Henwood, and police swarmed on his apartment building, where he was found attempting to drive away in a black Audi. White died of wounds to his head and left shoulder.

Henwood, 36, a four-year veteran of the Police Department and Marine reservist who had just returned from deployment to Afghanistan, died hours later at a hospital. No motive for the shooting was ever discovered; Police Chief William Lansdowne called it an "assassination."

"Based on these circumstances, it's readily apparent that all seven officers fired at Mr. White in self-defense as well as in defense of each other," Dumanis wrote to Lansdowne.

White was on probation for a series of petty offenses. The shotgun was traced to a residential burglary in Texas in 2009, according to Dumanis' letter.

Before firing at Henwood, White had shot a man at a nearby restaurant, again with no apparent motive. An autopsy found no drugs in White's system, according to Dumanis.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Dejon White. Credit: KGTV-Channel 10