District attorney won't charge 911 caller in Kendrec McDade killing
The L.A. County district attorney's office will not charge a man with involuntary manslaughter for falsely claiming he was robbed at gunpoint, setting off a chain of events that ended with an officer fatally shooting a college student in Pasadena.
Pasadena police shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade on a narrow street in the city’s northeast section March 24 as he was being chased by an officer and his path was blocked by a police car.
Prosecutors found that Oscar Carrillo lied when he told officers he was robbed at gunpoint by McDade. But the lie was just "one in a series of acts ... that culminated in the fatal shooting."
Deputy Dist Atty. Scott Goodwin said McDade's decision to run from police and eventually dash toward a police vehicle blocking his path were significant intervening factors and not a "foreseeable consequence of Carrillo's 911 call."
Goodwin wrote that when shown surveillance video of the crime, Carrillo admitted the men never confronted him, that the computer was stolen from his car and that he'd never seen a gun.
Pasadena police in the aftermath of the shooting arrested Carrillo, saying his statements had led to the fatal shooting.
"Mr. Carrillo emphatically indicated a gun was involved ... that is very important. It sets the platform for the mind-set of the responding officers,” Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez told reporters.
But Goodwin found that a charge of involuntary manslaughter was not supported by the evidence. The district attorney's office has referred the case to Pasadena city prosecutors for a criminal charge of misdemeanor filing a false police report.
McDade's family has filed a wrongful-death suit against the city and police officers for wrongful death. The Police Department has said McDade was holding his waistband at the time of the shooting, and the officers involved say they believed he was going for a weapon.
McDade was shot at point-blank range by one Pasadena police officer and handcuffed after being struck by a total of seven bullets, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office autopsy report.
The officer who was seated inside the patrol car fired four rounds through an open window, according to the autopsy report. The second officer, who was on foot, fired four rounds, believing his partner was involved in a firefight.
Carree Harper, an attorney for McDade family members, said the Pasadena police chief essentially increased the level of the arrest offense on Carrillo in response to the outcry over the shooting as he sought to justify his officers actions. Harper said it comes as no surprise that a prosecutor eventually declined to support that move.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: A photograph of Kendrec McDade on message board on display during his funeral service at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena in April. Credit: Christina House / For The Times