Costco shooting: Charges filed against off-duty LAPD officer in fatal 2019 shooting of unarmed man

Charges have been filed against a former off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer who shot a 32-year-old man to death and injured his parents inside a Costco in Corona in 2019.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta Monday announced the arrest and filing of felony charges for alleged voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm against former LAPD officer Salvador Sanchez, 30, as a result of the off-duty shooting.

Sanchez was arrested Monday morning in Riverside County. He is being held in lieu of $155,000 bail.

In September 2019, a criminal grand jury returned a "no bill" in the case. A "no bill" means the grand jury did not find that the evidence in the matter rose to the level of probable cause that a crime occurred, which is required for criminal prosecution. Monday's charges come after a review of the incident by the Attorney General’s office. 


"Where there’s reason to believe a crime has been committed, we will seek justice," said Bonta. "That’s exactly what these charges are about: pursuing justice after an independent and thorough review of the evidence and the law. Ultimately, any loss of life is a tragedy and being licensed to carry a gun doesn’t mean you're not accountable for how you use it. No matter who you are, nobody is above the law."

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According to court documents, on June 14, 2019, Sanchez, while off-duty, shot and killed 32-year-old Kenneth French inside a Costco. Sanchez also shot and wounded Kenneth’s parents, 58-year-old Russell and 59-year-old Paola. 

Victim: Kenneth French

According to family members, Kenneth was non-verbal and intellectually disabled.

Corona police said that Sanchez was shopping at Costco with his family, holding his child in his arms, when, "without provocation, a male unknown to the officer's family assaulted the officer." The French family and their attorney, Dale Galipo, have conceded that Kenneth shoved Sanchez to the ground for unknown reasons.

According to the officer's attorney, David Winslow, Sanchez briefly lost consciousness, and when he awoke, he was on the ground and his 18-month-old son was next to him screaming. Winslow said the officer "had no choice but to use deadly force."  

The French family has claimed they pleaded with Sanchez not to shoot, telling the officer that their son, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was largely non-verbal, had mental health issues. They also claim they were backing away from Sanchez when the shooting occurred.

Following the shooting, police said that Kenneth was shot once in the shoulder and three times in the back, while his mother, Paola, was shot in the back and her husband, Russell, was shot in the abdomen, resulting in the loss of a kidney.

Following a review of the incident by the Attorney General’s office, Sanchez now faces a total of three felony charges for his actions.

In June 2020, the Los Angeles Police Commission found that Sanchez acted outside of department policy when he shot Kenneth and his parents.

Kenneth's parents sued the city of Los Angeles and the officer. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges battery, negligence, civil rights violations and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

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