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EL CAJON —
Authorities on Wednesday released video of two sheriff’s deputies opening fire last week during a traffic stop in El Cajon, wounding a man armed with a knife, as well as a National City police detective working on an auto theft task force.
Deputies David Lovejoy and Jonathon Young were identified as those who shot Erik Talavera, 31, on Feb. 16, according to El Cajon police Lt. Randy Soulard.
El Cajon officers were not involved in the shooting but are investigating because it occurred in their jurisdiction.
The body-worn camera footage released Wednesday by the Sheriff’s Department shows Talavera being shot, but does not show the detective from the Regional Auto Theft Task Force being hit. That detective sustained a minor wound, reportedly in the lower part of one leg.
Talavera was taken to a hospital that night to undergo surgery. He remained hospitalized and in police custody Wednesday, Soulard wrote in an email. Once released from the hospital, he’s expected to face charges.
Lovejoy and Young are assigned to the Sheriff’s Department’s Lakeside substation, Soulard said. Lovejoy has worked for the department more than eight years and Young for about six years.
The incident unfolded around 10:15 p.m. Feb. 16, when members of the countywide auto theft task force asked uniformed deputies to pull over the driver of a van towing a stolen trailer.
In a news release the day after the shooting, Soulard said the deputies conducted a “high-risk vehicle stop” that ended in a cul-de-sac at Ballard and Decker streets, just south of Main Street in El Cajon. Police said Talavera exited the van armed with a knife and refused commands to drop it.
The body-worn camera footage shows Young arriving after Lovejoy is already pointing his gun at Talavera from behind the door of a patrol SUV. Both deputies shout at Talavera, who is in the street about three full car lengths away, to lie on the ground.
Talavera appears to be moving toward the ground when both deputies open fire, the footage shows.
Talavera rolls several times on the ground as the deputies fire their first shots, which came about eight seconds after Young arrived. Talavera, who appears wounded, groans loudly as deputies shout at him to put his hands up and “do not reach for it.”
But Talavera continues making small movements, pushes his upper body slightly off the ground and snatches the knife with his right hand, the footage shows. At least one deputy fires at least two more shots.
After the second round of gunfire, Lovejoy’s body-camera records him saying “I can’t see what it is. He’s got a small black object in his hand.” Young’s camera records another deputy asking him if the item Talavera grabbed is a gun. Young responds initially that he “saw a black object,” but a short time later, Talavera tosses something a short distance away, and Young shouts that it’s a knife.
With more deputies arriving, they shout for Talavera to crawl away from the knife and he yells back, between groans, that he can’t move, the footage shows. After about two minutes, deputies approach him, with one of them kicking the knife away. They handcuff him and search him for weapons.
During that search, a nearby law enforcement officer can be heard saying “I got an officer down here.” Someone says the officer — referring to the National City detective — was shot in the leg. The body-camera footage does not show the detective being shot, but does show at least one law enforcement vehicle behind Talavera, in the direction that Young and Lovejoy fired.
Though police said deputies “performed life-saving treatment on Talavera until they were relieved by paramedics,” the footage does not show law enforcement providing medical aid. Young’s camera shows him rolling Talavera onto his back, on top of his handcuffed arms, and cutting his shirt, then talking with him as deputies tell him to “just keep breathing” and that an ambulance is coming.
As is standard practice in shootings involving law enforcement, Lovejoy and Young were on administrative assignment as of Wednesday “until they are cleared to return to full duty,” Soulard said.
Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com