Costco shooting: Wounded parents making strides in their recovery, attorney says

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The parents who were critically wounded when an LAPD officer opened fire at a Costco in Corona last month, killing their adult son, are making strides in their recovery, their attorney said Wednesday.

Russell and Paola French remain hospitalized but are considered stable. They still have some hurdles, but their family is optimistic about their conditions, said attorney Dale Galipo.

“Russell is fighting an infection and pneumonia, making his recovery slower than expected,” he said. “Paola still has some complications with her wounds, which will require additional surgeries.”


The Riverside County district attorney’s office, which received the case from Corona police last week, is reviewing whether to criminally charge the LAPD officer who fatally shot Kenneth French, 32, and wounded his parents on June 14.

Such an investigation involving police officers often takes months, but with a growing debate over the shooting, Corona’s police chief publicly said he was prioritizing the investigation and his detectives were reviewing evidence including security videos and interviewing witnesses.

John Hall, a spokesman for the district attorney, said prosecutors have not made a decision about whether to file criminal charges in the case.

The LAPD officer, identified by multiple sources as Salvador Sanchez, is a seven-year patrol officer in the Southwest Division. He was off-duty inside the Costco with his young son. Russell and Paola French were also inside the store wandering the aisles with their adult son, who family members say suffered from an intellectual disability and needed their care.

The families came together in a food-sample line when Kenneth French got into an altercation with the officer that ended in gunfire. Two sharply different accounts of the altercation have emerged.

Officials said there was video showing parts of the encounter. However, Corona police declined a request from The Times to release it.


The officer’s attorney, David Winslow, said his client was getting a food sample for his 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 acknowledged that Kenneth French pushed the officer in the line, but said the exchange wasn’t a justification for the shooting.

Before the officer 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, Galipo said.

French was normally calm, but he had had a recent change in medication that might have affected his behavior, Galipo said. The attorney said French was “nonverbal” and suffered from schizophrenia.

“The shooting was excessive and completely unjustified,” Galipo said.


Twitter: @Hannahnfry