OCDA Clears SAPD Corporal in Non-Fatal Shooting of Attempted Murderer in 2015

Photo by Gabriel San Roman

Francisco Alvarez awaited his 21-year-old stepdaughter outside her work on the afternoon of Feb. 20, 2015 with a six-inch blade in hand. When she walked out, he began stabbing her repeatedly, even after she fell to the ground. Horrified witnesses called Santa Ana police; Alvarez, 51, welcomed that. “Let them come,” he said. “Let them kill me.” A brave bystander grabbed a two-by-four and whacked Alvarez on the back of his head with it. The attack most likely saved the woman’s life as Alvarez fled the area afterward.

The attempted murder suspect walked near an elementary school with knife in hand when police responded. The altercation ended in four bullets being pumped into him by Corporal David Lima, a shooting that the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office recently deemed justified. 

According to an OCDA probe into the incident, Lima expected an encounter with a violent man after hearing details of the brutal attack. Witnesses pointed Alvarez out to the corporal who brought his patrol car to a stop about 30 feet away from the man. Lima commanded him to drop the knife from his hand several times. “No, I want to die,” Alvarez responded. 

Santa Ana policeman Carlos Aguilera arrived to the scene. Lima instructed him to retrieve a “40 millimeter” non-lethal weapon from the trunk of his patrol car. But Alvarez began closing the distance between him and officers while waving his knife in the air. Officers are trained that suspects armed with a knife pose a lethal threat within 21 feet. Lima backtracked but Alvarez came within 15 feet while continuing to ignore commands to drop the knife. 

In fear of being stabbed, Lima fired four rounds at Alvarez striking him twice in the abdomen, once in the right arm and once in the right leg. He fell to the ground after the shooting. Paramedics came to the scene and transported Alvarez to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange where he survived his injuries. 

The OCDA’s report to Santa Ana police chief David Valentin quoted several witnesses who stated that his officers acted in the right. “If the officers had not shot,” one witness said, “he would have attacked them.” 

Investigators reached the same conclusion in assessing whether or not Lima acted in a criminal manner during the incident. “Based on the totality of the circumstances, Cpl. Lima was justified in believing that Alvarez posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to himself and others,” the report concluded. “Cpl. Lima did not commit a crime, but rather carried out his duties as a peace [officer] in a reasonable and justifiable manner to protect himself, his partner, and the public.” 

The OCDA did file charges against Alvarez in the days following the officer-involved shooting. He faced a felony count of attempted murder for the knife attack on his stepdaughter. He was also later charged with aggravated assault on a cop. Earlier this month, on Sept. 4, Alvarez pleaded guilty to all charged filed against him.

As always, read the report in its entirety online. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *