Officer Cleared In Fatal Encanto Shooting


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TheeBadOne
December 26, 2003, 02:34 PM
(12-24-2003) - A patrolman was legally justified in fatally shooting a gang member during a violent traffic stop on an Encanto street last fall, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

San Diego police Officer James Hunter shot Billye Venable in the head as the 26-year-old suspect was grappling with another officer, trying to wrest away his holstered gun, according to investigators.

The parolee ignored repeated orders to take his hands off SDPD Officer Christopher Leahy's pistol and stop fighting, Dumanis wrote in a letter to police Chief William Lansdowne.

"Venable was in the process of arming himself with Officer Leahy's gun," she wrote. "The question for Officer Hunter, ultimately, became how long he would or should wait before using deadly force."

The documented gang member was wanted on a warrant for a parole violation when Leahy and Officer Anthony Bueno pulled over the 1995 Chevrolet Impala in which he was riding in the 900 block of 65th Street at about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11.

A computer check showed that the vehicle was registered to Venable's brother, according to Dumanis' Dec. 22 memo to Lansdowne.

Venable gave the officers a false name, but Bueno thought he recognized the parolee. Hunter arrived minutes later and confirmed that suspicion, knowing Venable by sight from a stint on an SDPD gang-suppression unit, Dumanis wrote.

When the officers ordered him out of the car, Venable tried to bolt, then began fighting with Leahy when the patrolman grabbed his arm, Dumanis stated.

At that point, Hunter tried to help his colleague subdue Venable, who "immediately grabbed for Officer Leahy's gun, according to Officer Leahy," the district attorney's memo states.

http://www.kfmb.com/topstory20988.html
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