Fresno County, California, Sheriff’s Sgt. Joshua McCahill testified on Feb. 17 that Charles Salinas was not a “lethal threat" when three other officers shot and killed him on June 15, 2012, in Sanger, California (video below).
Sanger police officers Sgt. Jason Boust, Preston Little, and Angela Yambupah testified that they were in fear of their lives when they fatally shot Salinas, a suicidal Marine Corps veteran, reported The Fresno Bee.
The officers were unaware that they were being filmed by a witness when they fired 22 rounds, hitting Salinas 11 times from 10 to 15 feet away.
Salinas’ sister, Esperanza Booke, subsequently filed a civil rights lawsuit against all four officers in U.S. District Court.
According to Booke's lawyer, Robert Hamparyan, the Sanger police officers were allowed to stay together in a room for four hours, speak to a lawyer, and confer with Fresno Police Chief Silver Rodriguez before they were questioned by Fresno County sheriff’s detectives.
Salinas said he had been drinking when he called 911, and told the operator that he had a gun and two knives.
Salinas told the operator that he was not going to hurt the cops, but would provoke the officers into killing him.
McCahill testified that Salinas was not armed, and was sitting in a flower bed. McCahill admitted that he pulled his gun to give cover to Sanger police officer Robert Pulkownik, who was talking to Salinas.
McCahill said that Salinas never threatened officers, but did not initially comply with their orders to get off the flower bed, lay down on the ground, and surrender.
By the time Salinas got out of the flower bed, Boust, Little, and Yambupah arrived, according to McCahill.
McCahill said Salinas held his hands above his waist, and never showed a weapon.
Salinas did have a cell phone in a holster on his hip, which Yambupah testified could have been a gun.
According to McCahill, Salinas was jumping or lunging when McCahill yelled “bag, bag, bag,” which was a call for Pulkownik to fire a bean-bag shotgun.
McCahill said that the three officers fired their AR-15 rifles, but he did not fire his gun because it was a “nonlethal situation."
McCahill added that the officers continued firing at Salinas after the vet fell to the ground, which is confirmed on the video.
Pulkownik testified in court on Feb. 18 that Salinas ran at him “like a track star,” and added, "He bolted right at me like he was going to kill me,” reported The Fresno Bee.
Boust, Little, and Yambupah all made a similar claim, but after Pulkownik was shown the video, he agreed it didn't match his testimony that Salinas was running toward him, although he insisted that it was his perception at the time.