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District Attorney’s Office Says Officer Justified in Shooting Youth at Border

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A San Diego police officer was legally justified when he shot and wounded a 17-year-old Mexican youth, because the youth, apparently armed with a knife, kept running toward the officer despite repeated warnings to stop, according to a letter from the district attorney’s office.

The incident unfolded shortly before 11 p.m. July 8 when officers from the San Diego Police Border Crime Intervention Unit attempted to arrest two juveniles they suspected of robbing groups near the U.S.-Mexico border in the 3100 block of Monument Road.

One of the youths ran toward the spot where Officers Joseph Bane, 33, and Mike Gutierrez, 25, who were in uniform, were stationed to stop them from running back across the border, police say.

Despite repeated warnings in Spanish from Bane, the boy continued to run and allegedly raised a knife in the air. Bane, who was about 3 feet from the boy, fired two shots from his 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, hitting the boy once in the thigh, according to police reports.

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“Officer Bane fired his weapon under a reasonable fear that (the youth) would cause him grievous and possibly fatal injury in his efforts to escape apprehension,” says the letter, dated Aug. 24.

The boy, identified as Jose Luis Gonzalez Salazar, pleaded guilty to robbery charges and has been prosecuted by the Juvenile Division, where he is awaiting sentencing, the letter says. Another youth, 15-year-old Miguel Arnana, also pleaded guilty to robbery charges and is awaiting sentencing.

The shooting was the first such incident involving the border crime unit since its reinstatement in June, after being sidelined by highly publicized and controversial shootings. One incident involved the shooting of a 17-year-old Mexican youth last December who is now paralyzed from the waist down.


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