Officers justified in fatally shooting man holding hostage at Long Beach hotel, court says

Prosecutors also declined to file charges in three other OIS situations.

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Two Long Beach police officers were justified in fatally shooting a gunman who was holding an employee hostage at a Long Beach hotel, according to a document released Thursday, Jan. 9 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors determined that officers Justin Krueger and Bryan Pasion “acted lawfully in defense of another” by firing at Andy Le Vo as he held a night shift manager at gunpoint at the Holiday Inn on Jan. 5, 2018.

Vo– who had gone hours earlier to the Westminster police station and reported that his wife and children were possibly in danger– failed to comply with the officers’ demands to drop his gun and forced the hotel employee to go toward a hallway, according to the report on the shooting.

“The officers’ use of deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances,” the report concluded, noting that it was reasonable for the officers to conclude that the 35-year-old man’s actions posed a deadly threat to the hotel employee and others.

The District Attorney’s Office also ruled that the force used by Long Beach Police Officers Jason Kirk, Tonya Kirk, Francisco Vasquez and Sergio Ruvalcaba in subduing Juan Calderon in August 2007 following a 911 call of him behaving erratically. The coroner’s office concluded that the 33-year-old man
died 13 days later from “complications of apparent multiple drug intoxication,” but could not determine if the officers’ restraint measures had an adverse effect on Calderon, according to a report on Calderon’s death.

Prosecutors also declined to file charges in connection with the officer-involved shootings of:

• Rene Herrera, 39, and Fernando Cruz, 18, who were fatally shot Sept. 19, 2018, during a gun battle between Herrera and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies at Ruben F. Salazar Park in East Los Angeles that injured two deputies and a sheriff’s employee who was on a ride-along. Prosecutors concluded that deputies Joel Garnica, Sergio Trejo, Joe Carbajal and Luis Valle “acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others.”

• Daniel Anthony Valdez, who was suspected of killing one person and wounding another shortly after he was evicted from a Los Angeles property where he had been staying. Prosecutors determined that Los Angeles police Officers Jason Leikam and Jose Hidalgo and FBI Special Agent Michael Alker acted lawfully in using deadly force against the 70-year-old man from the Riverside County community of Perris, concluding that he opened fire on police as they tried to arrest him on Aug. 7, 2018.

• Eric Anderson, 48, of Azusa, who was killed Jan. 17, 2017, after pointing a gun at Azusa police. Prosecutors concluded that Azusa Police Officer Dennis Tremblay “reasonably concluded that he and his fellow officers were in imminent and grave danger.”

Prosecutors also refused to file charges against Gardena Police Officer Ryan Sproles, who shot at three men in two separate incidents just over two weeks apart in the spring of 2017, according to documents from the District Attorney’s Office.

Sproles was legally justified in self-defense in shooting at a man who was grazed by a bullet after an April 30, 2017, pursuit, with the officer and other witnesses believing that the suspect was reaching for a gun, according to the report from the District Attorney’s Office on that shooting. Investigators subsequently determined that the man wasn’t armed with any weapons, according to the report.

Prosecutors determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Sproles did not act in self-defense when he fired after a high-speed chase at two men suspected of burglarizing a Torrance home on May 15, 2017. The two men were not struck by the gunfire, according to the document.