SANTA ANA, Calif/January 03, 2018(AP)(STL.News)— Investigators determined the fatal police shooting of a homeless Navy veteran outside a Southern California convenience store last year was justified, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday.
Video shows the man reaching for the officer’s duty belt as the two struggled before seven shots were fired, the office said.
Dillan Tabares, 27, was shot outside a Huntington Beach convenience store in September after confronting the officer, punching him and grabbing his belt.
Bystanders recorded video of the incident at a busy intersection near a high school.
County prosecutors released nearly 13 minutes of video footage of the shooting. The office said Officer Eric Esparza declined to give investigators a statement about the incident.
In November, authorities said they believed that days before the shooting Tabares had beaten to death an 80-year-old friend.
Brandon Tabares said his brother’s life had unraveled into homelessness, drug use and mental illness after he failed a drug test and was discharged from the Navy five years ago.
Dillan Tabares had a series of arrests in California and was released on parole Sept. 14 after serving a sentence for a felony battery conviction, according to state parole records. He absconded and was marked as a “parolee-at-large” on Sept. 20 — two days before the shooting.
His family repeatedly sought help for him and said he was treated at psychiatric facilities.