Anaheim police chief Raul Quezada addressed residents gathered at James Madison Elementary last night about his department's latest fatal officer-involved shooting. The trouble started on Saturday, when Danny Rendon shot at two people around the 900 block of South Roberts Street in the city. No one was injured in the initial shooting, but 911 calls started flooding in reporting that the 30-year-old man drove away from the scene with gun in hand.
The events turned next to the 2000 block of West Cris Avenue, where Rendon's estranged wife lived. "He just fired off a shot right now," one resident said in released 911 audio clip. When police arrived at the scene, they found Rendon holding a gun in the street after he had shot his brother-in-law in the leg. According to authorities, he also fired once at a police helicopter circling overhead. Around 4:45 p.m. three officers shouted police commands before fatally shooting Rendon.
That same day, ABC7 fielded a report saying witnesses saw the gunman drop his weapon before police opened fire. They also obtained cell phone footage of the incident which, although edited by the news channel, seemed to corroborate their claims. The next day Anaheim police issued a press release saying Rendon "dropped the gun but did not comply with officers' commands."
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At the calm community meeting, chief Quezada played a CBS2 report on the shooting (but not the ABC7 clip with the cellphone footage) and further recounted the series of events. "The suspect complies and drops the handgun," he said at one point. "Why was he shot after he dropped the gun?" a woman later asked from the audience. "That's the part I can't go into," the chief responded, citing the ongoing investigation. He only vaguely alluded to other things happening after Rendon dropping his weapon that caused officers to fire.
The chief tried reassuring the residents at the elementary's library room that the incident is being investigated by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office and Anaheim's Office of Independent Review, although, as the name implies, the latter only reviews police shootings instead of investigates. "The officers deployed to this incident all wore body cameras," Quezada further stressed. But since the department started wearing them in 2014, footage in officer-involved shooting cases barely gets a passing mention in published OCDA reports (trust us, we read 'em all).
The Rendon killing is the department's second fatal officer-involved shooting this month after Anaheim policeman German Alvarez gunned down unarmed 22-year-old Gustavo Najera at Sage Park. If anyone out there has unedited cellphone footage of Rendon's shooting, send it our way and that's how we'll roll the tape. Operators are standing by...