Santa Ana Police Killing Of Benito Osorio Justified, OCDA Rules

Benito Osorio
Benito Osorio
Courtesy of Santa Ana PD

Benito Osorio pulled a gun during dispute with another man over a woman last year in Santa Ana. The 39-year-old fired at his adversary but missed. The bullets that day didn't end there. Osorio fled the scene in his truck before coming to a stop at Main Street around 12:54 p.m. Santa Ana police arrived and took positions behind the pickup. They started yelling commands in English and Spanish, telling him to put his hands up. 

According to a new report released by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office, policeman David Garcia had the best view of Osorio in the driver's seat and observed him holding a chrome handgun that he pointed under his chin. "Don't do it! Don't do it!" Garcia pleaded. Osorio squeezed the trigger, but the gun didn't fire. He quickly re-racked it and shot himself in the head. At that point, police assumed the standoff came to a gruesome end and left their cover positions. When they approached the truck, Osorio began to move, bringing a cellphone to his ear. "I'm sorry, I got in trouble," he told his wife. 

But Osorio's troubles didn't end there. After hanging up the call, he stumbled out of the truck with cellphone and gun in hand. The report says, Osorio turned to face the officers while raising the weapon. Fearing for their lives, Officers Garcia, David Enriquez, Nicole Quijas, Ryan Shifflett, and William Sweet struck him down in a hailstorm of bullets. Officer Enriquez approached Osorio's body and kicked the gun towards the rear tire of the truck, far out of reach. 

The OCDA recounted the footage from three cellphone videos (maybe one of which KCBS ran above?) that captured parts of the incident. None appear to have had a clear view of Osorio raising the gun when getting out of the truck. Early reports after the shooting left the question of whose bullets, Osorio's own or SAPD's, proved to be fatal. An autopsy report from the Orange County's Coroner's Office notes that the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head wasn't lethal, but all the police lead to the head, torso and upper arm sure were.

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Confronted by an armed suspect who didn't listen to police commands to drop his weapon, the OCDA cleared the cops of any wrongdoing. "Simply stated, none of the officers involved in this tragic incident committed a crime," the report concludes, "to the contrary, the involved officers carried out their duties as peace office [sic] in a reasonably, justifiable and lawful manner." 

As always, read the report in its entirety online. 

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