Costco shooting: Wounded parents learn their son is dead. ‘They are devastated’
“They do know about their son’s death,” their attorney, Dale K. Galipo, said Monday. “Of course they are devastated.”
Russell and Paola French were shopping June 14 at Costco with their son, Kenneth, who suffered from an intellectual disability and needed their care, according to family members. Kenneth French, 32, got into an altercation with the officer, who was off duty and holding his child in a food sample line at the warehouse store. The officer opened fire.
Paola French was struck in the back as she turned away from the gunfire. She has undergone several surgeries, her attorney said, and was in a coma last week, listed in critical condition. Russell French was seriously wounded and also was hospitalized after the shooting.
Corona police continue to investigate the case, and no arrests have been made.
David Winslow, the attorney for the officer involved in the shooting, said his client, Salvador Sanchez, 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.
Galipo said Kenneth pushed the officer but said that interaction did not justify the gunfire.
Before the man fired his gun, there was a moment 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.
French is normally calm, but he had had a recent change in medication that might have affected his behavior, Galipo said.
French lived with his parents and had the mental capacity of a teenager, said his cousin, Rick Shureih.
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,” adding that French could drive and cook himself breakfast and sometimes hold down a part-time job but was unable to live on his own.
In a Facebook post after the shooting, Shureih shared a photo of 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.”
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