"Where's your fucking sister," Danny Rendon angrily demanded. "I know she's fucking cheating on me!" Rendon's brother-in-law didn't know of her whereabouts on the afternoon of February 20 last year but promised to help him. The argument in the middle of a residential street in Anaheim continued when Rendon called his relative a "liar" and shot him in the leg without warning.
The shooting capped an afternoon of rage for Rendon, one that ended with him shot eleven times by Anaheim policemen responding to the scene and leaving him dead. According to a newly released report by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office, the 30-year-old with a long rap sheet fumed about his estranged wife two weeks before the shooting while smoking meth in the rear of a local Anaheim laundromat. Rendon ranted to his neighbor about taking time off work to catch his wife in the alleged act—and that he'd kill her and any side dude on the spot.
On the afternoon of February 20, Rendon drove his 1985 brown Cadillac around Anaheim with more than a case of road rage. He tailgated a car with a toddler in the backseat and fired one shot in the air and another at the commuting family. Luckily, no bullets struck them or their car. Rendon got into an argument with another man soon after, firing a round at him while he rushed back into his Honda and sped away. Rendon gave chase and a witness recalled hearing two more shots after that.
But Rendon wasn't done squeezing the trigger. He only brandished his gun at another car waiting to make a left turn on Ball Road before bringing his fury to West Cris Avenue, where his wife lived with family. Rendon's brother-in-law ran out of the house after he saw his relative trying to bust a door down. Anaheim police arrived armed with rifles after Rendon confronted his bro-in-law, shot him in the leg and pulled out a meth pipe while standing over him. "I'm going to smoke some dope while I watch you suffer," he said.
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Police ordered Rendon to drop his weapon and get on the ground. He put the gun down, but refused to comply with the other command. Officers continued their advance. When Rendon made a "jerky" movement towards his relative and the gun on the ground, police fired a useless bean-bag that struck him in his chest. Fearing for their lives and those around them, officers Collin Brennan, Kenneth Florendo and Jason Carney followed with a barrage of bullets that killed Rendon.
At a community forum last year following the shooting, Anaheim police chief Raul Quezada admitted Rendon had dropped the gun before his men opened fire, but declined to say why. A neighbor captured the shooting on cellphone video that investigators reviewed, but did not detail in their report. ABC7 obtained the footage and played it during their news report, only to pause the video at the critical moment before the shooting. Quezada also told residents that officers on scene wore body cameras. The OCDA report doesn't even mention them as evidence.
Regardless, investigators found the shooting within policy. "A jury analyzing these facts would justly conclude that it was reasonable for Officers Brennan, Florendo and Carney to believe that their lives and the lives of others at the scene were in danger," the report concludes. "Therefore, the officers were justified when they shot at Rendon."
As always, read the report in its entirety online.