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Burbank officers cleared in shooting

Ben Godar

Two Burbank Police officers who shot and wounded a man during a

traffic stop in September acted in self-defense, according to a

finding released Tuesday by the L.A. County district attorney’s

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office.

Officers Chris Canales and Fernando Munoz “acted lawfully in

self-defense” when they wounded Carl Strunk, a 23-year-old prison

parolee, Deputy District Atty. Mark Ashen said.

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“This was a very dangerous situation,” Ashen said Tuesday. “The

officers did what they had to do to protect themselves.”

Strunk, a Burbank resident, was shot in a car in a parking lot in

the 1400 block of West Olive Avenue on Sept. 21. Three other people

were in the car with Strunk. Munoz and Canales opened fire on Strunk

after he pointed a handgun at them, Ashen said. Strunk was shot in

the chin, neck and torso, but none of the three passengers in the car

was injured.

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During the altercation, Strunk fired one round into the car’s

interior, but Ashen said it did not hit anyone. Officers later found

a second handgun he had in the car.

Strunk, who was on parole at the time, told the others in the car

he was either going to “kill the officers or himself” and had been

playing Russian roulette at a hotel before the incident, Ashen said.

Those and other details made the incident a clear-cut case of

self-defense, he added.

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Canales and Munoz, who were put on administrative leave for less

than a month, were also cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal

investigation completed in November.

“Our investigation found the officers performed within policy, and

we’re gratified the district attorney verified that,” spokesman Sgt.

William Berry said.

In November, the District Attorney’s Office filed two counts of

attempted murder against Strunk, along with charges of assaulting a

peace officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is

being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court again

July 15.

While a criminal trial is pending, Deputy Chief Larry Koch said

the ruling brings closure to the official review of the officers’

behavior.

“Nobody likes to be involved in the use of deadly force,” Koch

said. “Sometimes an incident dictates we have to do that to defend

ourselves.”


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