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CHP officer cleared of wrongdoing in fatal shootout at O.C. homeless encampment



Orange County prosecutors introduced they’d not file prices towards a California Highway Patrol officer who killed a homeless man throughout a shootout at an encampment in Los Alamitos.

On Oct. 15, 2020, Officer Jonathan Torres fatally shot 71-year-old Armando Sabat after he pointed a revolver on the officer and fired, according to a letter from the O.C. district lawyer’s workplace to CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray.

The taking pictures occurred at an encampment subsequent to an onramp from Katella Avenue onto the 605 Freeway, mentioned the letter, which was dated Dec. 28 and made public Friday.

“Officer Torres was justified in believing Sabat posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to himself and others,” prosecutors mentioned. “Simply stated, Officer Torres did not commit a crime; to the contrary, he carried out his duties as a peace officer in a reasonable and justifiable manner.”

A California Department of Transportation worker discovered the encampment on Oct. 14 and requested CHP response, however no unhoused individuals had been there when officers arrived, the letter mentioned.

The Caltrans worker visited the encampment the following morning, known as out, and Sabat poked his head out of a tent, prosecutors mentioned. The worker informed him to go away and mentioned officers could be on website in quarter-hour.

Torres and one other officer, Gary Robinson, had been dispatched at 9:11 a.m. and arrived minutes later, the letter mentioned. Caltrans workers pointed the lawmen towards Sabat’s tent.

The officers ordered him to return out a number of instances, prosecutors mentioned. He responded that he was getting dressed.

Around 9:21 a.m., Torres regarded inside and located Sabat totally dressed and on his fingers and knees, the letter mentioned. When the officer regarded inside a second time, Sabat was holding a big revolver.

Sabat then pointed the gun at Torres, and the officer drew his weapon, prosecutors mentioned.

“Officer Torres then heard a pop from the revolver and instantly felt a stinging sensation to the left side of his face,” the letter mentioned. His “left eye went completely shut and he believed he had been shot.”

The officer returned fireplace whereas strolling backward, prosecutors mentioned. He fired eight photographs in whole.

Torres later checked his left eye and located what he believed was a mix of mud and a slimy substance, the letter mentioned. Further examination at a hospital didn’t determine the substance that hit the officer’s eye, which was pink and barely swollen however didn’t look like additional injured.

Robinson informed investigators that he noticed Sabat level the revolver at Torres, heard gunshots and noticed sparks from Sabat’s gun, prosecutors mentioned.

Robinson didn’t use his service weapon in the course of the incident and was not injured, the letter mentioned.

Backup models from a number of police companies, CHP officers and firefighters had been known as to the scene, prosecutors mentioned. Officers didn’t know whether or not Sabat, who was final seen going again into the tent, was shot.

“As a result, Sabat was treated as a barricaded suspect,” the letter mentioned.

Firefighters and officers mentioned how you can safely method, prosecutors mentioned. Around 12:10 p.m., firefighters used an aerial ladder and high-pressure hose to brush the tent off Sabat.

He was discovered 4 minutes later, mendacity face down, and declared useless on the scene, the letter mentioned. Sabat suffered a number of gunshot wounds, three of them deadly, a forensic pathologist later discovered.

Officers discovered a .44-caliber black powder revolver partly buried underneath his head, the letter mentioned. One of the revolver’s chambers was empty, and officers discovered an expended percussion cap. Percussion caps carry a small quantity of gunpowder and are used to ignite the cost on black powder weapons.

Investigators finally discovered extra weapons, together with a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, magazines, ammunition and a 10-inch Bowie-style knife, prosecutors mentioned.





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