New Account Emerges of How Martin Angel Hernandez Died at the Hands of Anaheim Cops
Marchers, including families, teens and children, carried signs demanding justice as they walked through the neighborhood. The action ended along the long barb-wired brick fenced alleyway near the corner of Haster and Wakefield streets where Hernandez was killed. There was a police presence, including the department's gang unit, on the scene as there has been previously throughout last week.
And a new account of what happened the night Hernandez died.
"There were no incidents between the officers and the mourners," Anaheim Police Sergeant Bob Dunn reported to the Weekly. Asked about the presence of the gang unit at a community protest, he responded, "They supplement the officers who were there. It's an active gang neighborhood with an injunction against Boys From the Hood in place and they are able enforce violations of it."
The Anaheim Police Department has yet to comment on the circumstances leading to the shooting other than what's been said by Sgt. Dunn publicly in other media outlets including the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times: Officers responded to reports at 9:45 p.m. last Tuesday night of five or six males gathered in the alley. Two men were happened upon, one of which was said to be armed. One fled on bike and the other, Hernandez, was shot and killed by a patrol officer. A shotgun was retrieved near his body. The Orange County District Attorney's Office is conducting its customary investigation. The Anaheim Police Department is doing its own internal investigation. No updates were available to be given to the Weekly by Dunn.
|The alley where the shooting occurred|
In demanding justice, Ochoa-Perez offers a differing take of what happened that night culled from multiple sources. From them, she recounts that Hernandez was unknowingly followed by police from a nearby Vons to the alley. "What I heard is that he had a shotgun under his jacket and threw it over the wall. When he got shot, he didn't have the weapon on him anymore," Ochoa-Perez explains that accounts were uncertain as to if he had thrown it before or as he attempted to flee. "He ran, but they shot him. After that, he told police officers he gave up and surrendered, but they shot him two or three more times and literally blew his brains out."
|Altar erected where Hernandez was killed|
Prior to last week's shooting, Hernandez had pleaded guilty over the years to a series of criminal offenses, including a gang-related STEP Act conviction, but had just been released from prison this past December. "He got out before Christmas and we spent our first Christmas together as a family," Ochoa-Perez recalls. Those closest to him continue to reiterate his intentions to turn his life around. For now, under his mother's guidance, the family is focusing on the grieving process. The push for answers, they affirm, will come soon after.
Hernandez, who would have turned 22 later this month, was the fourth instance of an officer-involved shooting in Anaheim so far in 2012. There were only four in the city in all of last year.
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!