POSTED: 3:21 pm PST November 24, 2009
UPDATED: 7:04 pm PST November 24, 2009
Luis Gutierrez Navarro, 26, was killed on April 30 near a Woodland overpass.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown upheld the findings.
“After a complete review of all available information, we have concluded that your decision was not unreasonable and thus did not constitute an abuse of discretion,” Brown’s letter to the Yolo County District Attorney’s office said.
The attorney general’s office conducted an independent review of the report after the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office requested it. The FBI, which is also conducting an independent review, is ongoing.
The report determined that Navarro immediately fled when he was contacted by Sgt. Dale Johnson, Deputy Hernan Oviedo and Deputy Hector Bautista, who were working as part of the Yolo County Gang Task Force.
The deputies, who were in regular clothes, were crossing over the Highway 113 overpass in Woodland in a Ford Taurus when they saw Navarro walking along East Gum Avenue.
“Deputy Bautista thought Navarro looked familiar and might be on probation or parole,” the report said.
Navarro was also high on methamphetamine at the time, according to the report.
“However, regardless of his state of mind, Navarro was not legally justified in using deadly force against the deputies,” the report said.
The report said Navarro also had a concealed knife in his pocket and swung it at one of the deputies.
“When Navarro displayed the knife he had concealed in his pants pocket and assaulted Johnson, Navarro committed a violation of Penal Code Section 245(c), assault with a deadly weapon upon a peace officer,” the report said. “The use of force by Sgt. Johnson and Deputy Oviedo was necessary to accomplish that lawful purpose and to defend the deputies from imminent great bodily injury or death.”
According to the report, although Navarro may have not have realized that the men who were chasing him were from law enforcement, “the deputies stated that they identified themselves as police officers by showing their badges and guns and verbally identified themselves numerous times during the foot pursuit.”
Now that the report is out, some members of the Yolo Justice Coalition said they are displeased.
“When you shoot a man in the back, as they did to Luis Gutierrez, and you have undercover sheriffs who are dressed like gang members themselves and in a gang member car, and he’s shot in the back, there’s a lot of questions to why they stopped him in the first place,” Al Rojas from the coalition said.
The coroner who did the autopsy on Navarro determined that the bullet went into his right rear shoulder. The bullet went through the side of Navarro’s shoulder and then out through his jaw.