A week has passed since the Orange County District Attorney's office cleared Anaheim police officer Dan Hurtado in the killing of 21 year-old Martin Angel Hernandez on March 6, 2012.
Since that time, the Weekly has exclusively obtained a photo from a source requesting anonymity that graphically depicts his dying body laying in the alley of an apartment complex on East Wakefield Street in the city.
Taken from an elevated vantage point at an unspecified time after the shooting, it shows Hernandez positioned with his legs crossed, bleeding profusely from the head with what appears to be the shotgun in question resting west of his body, as the DA's report indicated. The blood is crimson red–fresh–and pooling at his feet. But the photo also shows no blue Dumpsters in sight, which contradicts Hurtado's statement that Hernandez was approaching a Dumpster when the police officer fired.
It's the first image to emerge from the night that gives any clue as to what really happened. DA and Anaheim PD investigators have so far refused to release any video surveillance of that night, going so far as to deny its existence even though cameras are rife through the neighborhood where Hernandez was killed.
The grim picture emerges at a time when a civil lawsuit is being prepared by attorney Humberto Guizar on behalf of the family. A claim has already been filed against the city of Anaheim.
No witnesses were cited by the OCDA that corroborated Hurtado's statement that, at the critical moment, Hernandez "started to raise the shotgun" so that barrel was pointed toward the officer. A person described as Witness #2 was said to have taken cell phone footage afterward at an unspecified time showing him down on the pavement, bleeding with a shotgun to his right. As of this writing, the video has not been made public.
Though the investigation into the question of criminal culpability in the officer-involved shooting is officially closed, Guizar still has many open-ended questions. At this time, he doesn't know if the same witnesses he has spoken to are part of the nearly sixty interviewed by the OCDA for their report. "I'll soon find out, eventually, after the lawsuit's filed," he adds.
The attorney takes strongest issue with the lack of information surrounding Hernandez's physical and medical condition after the shooting.
"The most significant fact that I find missing is the description of the autopsy report that would show the trajectory of the bullet when the officer fired the rifle," Guizar says. "It's very important for the public to know." The OCDA's investigative letter solely states that Hernandez's death was caused by an "avulsion of the brain due to a through-and-through gunshot wound to the head."
Instead of key information regarding the point of entry, quotes from the autopsy report make mention of the tattoos on Hernandez's body.
"There's a lot more to the shooting than what the District Attorney has stated in the report," Guizar says. "There's no doubt in my mind."
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