Advertisement
California

Costco shooting: Mother wounded by LAPD officer who killed her son is still in a coma

la-1561010366-hkrcnjdjdx-snap-image
Russell and Paola French with their son, Kenneth French, right, at Universal Studios. All three were shot Friday by an off-duty police officer. Kenneth French was killed.
(Rick Shureih)

Family members said Russell and Paola French were dedicated to their son Kenneth, who suffered from an intellectual disability and needed their care.

Now they are hospitalized with gunshot wounds and their son is dead after being shot by an off-duty Los Angeles police officer inside a Costco in Corona.

Paola French remains in critical condition and Russell French is in serious condition, according to the family’s attorney, Dale K. Galipo. Paola French was in a coma as of Wednesday. Neither is well enough to be interviewed by police, the attorney said.

Corona police have said detectives will continue interviewing witnesses and evaluating video and forensic evidence from the store.

Advertisement

“For several reasons, including the need to interview a number of witnesses and review evidence, no arrest was made at the time of the incident,” Corona Police Chief George Johnstone said in a video statement this week.

RELATED: Wildly different stories emerge of deadly encounter in Costco food line »

Kenneth French lived with his parents and had the mental capacity of a teenager, said his cousin, Rick Shureih, in an interview Sunday.

The Frenches dedicated their lives to taking care of their son, Shureih said. He described his aunt and uncle as “the sweetest people in the world.”

Advertisement

In a Facebook post Sunday morning, Shureih shared a photo of Kenneth French and his parents at Universal Studios.

“Do they look intimidating to you? Did he really have to shoot them all?” Shureih wrote. “I’m posting this picture because the stories on social media have made them out to be the suspects, and the off duty cop the victim.”

Kenneth French could drive and cook himself breakfast and sometimes held down part-time jobs, but he was unable to live on his own, Shureih said.

David Winslow, the attorney for the officer involved in the shooting, said his client was getting a food sample for his young son when he was attacked and briefly knocked out by French.

“He was shopping with his wife and 1½-year-old at Costco. His son was in his arms, and he was feeding his son some samples when, within seconds, he was on the ground and woke up from being unconscious and he was fighting for his life,” Winslow said.

The Frenches’ attorney said Kenneth pushed the officer but said that interaction did not justify the gunfire.

Before the man fired his gun, there was a gap in time when he declared he was a police officer and French’s father stepped between the two men.

“His father was trying to intervene,” Galipo said.

Advertisement

French is normally calm, but he had had a recent change in medication that might have affected his behavior, Galipo said.

Times staff writer Laura Newberry contributed to this report.


Advertisement