Residents and activists attending a police forum at an Anaheim church in late November left with few new details into the deadly November 19 officer-involved shooting of Adalid Flores. At the very least, they wanted to know the name of the cop who pulled the trigger, but got no answer. Since then, the Weekly has learned that Lorenzo J. Uribe is the officer being investigated by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office for the Flores shooting—and that he's been involved in at least two prior shootings while with the Long Beach Police Department.
While the OCDA works on its report, little remains known about what led up to Flores being killed. Preliminary details hold that the 29-year-old Anaheim resident and father of four drove a 2003 Honda Pilot when he allegedly tried to ram a car on the 91 freeway, hitting another Honda Accord in the attempt. Anaheim police helped California Highway Patrol investigate the assault with a deadly weapon incident when witness tipped officers to a residency near the 91 freeway on East Street in Anaheim. That's where Uribe shot Flores at least once in the courtyard.
“We are feeling a lot of pain because we don't think it was necessary for the police to kill our son,” Panfilo Flores, Adalid's father, told the Weekly in Spanish. Adalid's parents and Ruby Ponce, his girlfriend, couldn't attend the police forum in late November because it was the same day they were finally allowed to view his body. “We want to know why the police did what they did,” Panfilo adds. “We don't have any answers now and we don't know when we'll have them.”
More is known about Uribe's past with the Long Beach Police Department he left last year to don Anaheim PD's black uniform and badge. According to a Los Angeles County District Attorney (LACDA) report, Uribe and his partner responded to a call of a carjacking at gunpoint on May 29, 2010 when they tailed the stolen Honda Civic on Anaheim Street in Long Beach. A short high-speed chase ensued until the driver lost control of the car, smashing into a wall. After the driver was detained, Uribe ordered Carlos Eduardo Romo to get out of the passenger seat and on the ground, both orders he complied with, albeit slowly.
“Crawl towards me and don't reach for anything,” the LACDA report quotes Uribe as saying. “Don't do anything stupid or I'll shoot you.”
Romo began crawling at a pace too fast for the cop's liking and, at one point, reached for his waistband. Steadying a .12 gauge shotgun, Uribe told authorities he feared for his life and fired at Romo. Police later recovered a .22 caliber revolver from the front passenger seat of the Honda Civic, but not on Romo. When interviewed by LACDA investigators, Romo said he reached down to pull up his sagging pants, but understood why Uribe shot him. At the conclusion of their report, the LACDA declined to press charges against Uribe.
Four years after the Romo shooting, Uribe responded to another scene where he drew his weapon and fired. On the afternoon of June 19, 2014, Travis Charles Brown argued with a security guard at a Long Beach City College parking lot when Uribe and his partner, Bernardo Barajas, decided to approach them. According to the LACDA report, Brown gave two forms of ID over to Barajas without being harassed but with a right hand that shook uncontrollably. The cop asked if he was an Insane Crip gang member based on a tattoo on his leg and if he had anything illegal in his backpack. Soon after, the LBCC student took off running with a gun in hand.
The Press-Telegram reported police claims that after dashing through an auto shop class with a handful of students in it, Brown positioned himself and fired the first shot at officer Uribe before he returned fire while CBS-2 stated that the college student had only pointed the gun at the cop. The LACDA noted Uribe fired first when Brown pointed the gun at him while on the run. The cop heard Brown fire a shot immediately after, but couldn't tell in what direction.
Brown told investigators that he never ran with a gun in hand and that it had been on his waistband until he tried to toss it on the run. After getting shot in the butt, Brown said the gun discharged after hitting the floor and that at no time did he point the weapon at Uribe to shoot him. Last year, the LACDA cleared the officer in that shooting, too. The college student filed a pro se federal lawsuit against the cops while in jail claiming they racially profiled him and used racial slurs in the shooting, but a judge dismissed it last year with an option to refile.
The two shootings occurred during LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell's helm as Long Beach Chief of Police, a tenure that saw drastic spikes in such incidents. Uribe is proud of his service in Long Beach, including being President of the city's National Latino Peace Officer's Association chapter. “I'm grateful I met courageous people that worked with integrity and consistency regardless of a constant unfair blanket of punishment and criticism from the media and our communities,” states his LinkedIn profile, “Now to start a new chapter in life…”
In the wake of Adalid's death, his family in Anaheim has retained legal representation from the Tustin-based Carrazco Law firm in pursuit of answers and accountability. But for now, they grieve during the most difficult time of the year.
“It's hard knowing that he wasn't with us for Thanksgiving and that his children are broken down” Ponce said of Adalid and their four kids, ages 11 months to 11 years. “Christmas is coming and we were always together. What our kids want to do now is just put a Christmas tree on his grave at the cemetery.”