Surprise, Surprise: OC DA Clears Yet Another Officer-Involved Killing
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through OC, not a cop who had shot faced charges, by the District Attorney...
In the Weekly's latest entry in its series of OC DA-cleared killer cops, two Santa Ana policemen were cleared of wrongdoing in an officer-involved shooting earlier this year. Officers Pete Picone and John Rodriguez opened fire in an incident on March 15, 2013 that killed Jason Hallstrom, 41, and injured Travis Mock, 29.
Details describing the circumstances surrounding the shooting are scant. The OCDA explains that a pending criminal case against Mock prevents them from releasing more than a one-page letter at this time.
News reports of the shooting stated that Santa Ana police chased the two men on the 5 freeway. Their vehicle later crashed into another at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 15th Street. Both Mock and Hallstrom fled the scene of the accident and were shot. Hallstrom later died of his wounds.
Mock survived and pleaded not guilty to multiple felonies including evading a peace officer/reckless driving, unlawful taking of a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance as well as a misdemeanor count of resisting a public or peace officer. The case, as the OCDA notes, is still pending. Mock filed a $1 million claim against Santa Ana regarding the shooting. When further details are released surrounding the incident, the Weekly will follow up.
In the meantime, as our readers will recall, the officer-involved shooting that Mock survived was not his first! Back in February 2011, he was looting mailboxes in Anaheim Hills when Anaheim Police Department Lieutenant Tim Schmidt returned home from duty. Seeing Mock, he fired one round striking him after claiming to have seen a black object pulled from his jacket.
Despite being unarmed and shot in the back, the OCDA justified the shooting but pursued charges against the mail thief. Mock cried "bullschmidt" on that filing an excessive force lawsuit that the city settled last month to the tune of $75,000!
Now if the Anaheim Lieutenant's name sounds as familiar as Mock's, it's because he was recently appointed as spokesperson for the department as well as heading up its newly created Public Affairs Bureau that will handle Chief Raul Quezada's Advisory Board, Neighborhood Advisory Council and websites.
Yep, even the APD's new Public Information Officer was subjected to an excessive force lawsuit himself costing the city's taxpayers a hefty penny. Ho-ly Schmidt!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz