The holidays are around the corner and Orange County district attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is back with more from his Christmas sack! The latest justification of an officer-involved shooting before the New Year goes out to the Fountain Valley Police Department.
The killing of 45-year-old Dean Kristian Genova by officer Shaun McKay is detailed in the OCDA report released this week. Genova is noted as having a history of meth and prescription drug abuse. Things didn't seem to be going too well for him along those lines on the evening of April 25 this year. He sat down for dinner with his parents and a friend when his folks talked about putting him in rehab. Genova began hallucinating and complained that lasers pointed at him burned his face. A few hours later, a cop's gun would be pointed at his back, only it was no hallucination.
After dinner, Genova asked his friend for a lift in the middle of the night. He wanted to see his ex-wife, but the unnamed friend worried about Genova's health and drove him to Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center's emergency room around 3 a.m. instead. The two waited for a doctor's evaluation, but an agitated Genova changed his mind. “You're all against me, shooting me with lasers,” he said. Genova ran away from the hospital and evaded his concerned friend who gave chase.
An hour later, Genova walked up to a Rite-Aid Pharmacy on Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley. He shattered windows with cement blocks and entered. A frightened worker fled to a nearby grocery store, called the police and reported a burglary in progress. Fountain Valley police arrived on scene within minutes. Genova made it known to officers where he was, standing on a stocking ladder with his hands up. “What are you going to do, shoot me?” he said while climbing down.
Genova ignored police commands and resisted when they grabbed him. A canine bit Genova's leg, but still the police couldn't subdue and cuff him. In the struggle, Genova returned the favor, got a hold of officer McKay's forearm and sank his teeth in. The fight took a grave turn when police say Genova got a hold on the hand grip of an officer Mitchell Martinez's gun. He threw punches at Genova, but they failed to stop him from trying to wrest the weapon from its holster.
Martinez alarmingly told his fellow officers that Genova had control of the gun. Fearing for the safety of his fellow officers, McKay fired a single shot into Genova's back. Martinez's gun remained in its holster but got torn from its leg shroud. Paramedics transferred Genova to UCI Medical Center in Orange to no avail. He was pronounced deceased around 5 a.m. that morning. Blood tests later revealed meth in Genova's system.
McKay failed to cooperate with OCDA investigators, opting to plead the 5th instead of giving a voluntary statement. The OCDA notes that it didn't make any judgement about the cop's decision and based its conclusion on his colleagues' statements, among other things. “In this case, Officer McKay did not commit a crime,” the report reads, “he was doing his job in a reasonable and lawful manner.”
Check back for T-Rack's next end of the year clearance report. In the meantime, read the McKay investigation letter in its entirety online.