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Criminal Justice

LA DA Charges 2 Former Whittier Police Detectives In Shooting Man With Paralysis

George Gascón, a light-skinned Latino man wearing a dark suit jacket with a red tie and white shirt, speaks at a podium.
George Gascón announcing the charges at a news conference Wednesday.
(Frank Stoltze
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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón Wednesday filed assault charges against two former Whittier police detectives who shot an unarmed man in 2020, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

“The decision by these two detectives to use deadly force on someone who was unarmed and fleeing is inexcusable,” Gascón said in a statement.

The backstory

In April 2020, former detectives Cynthia Lopez and Salvador Murillo stopped 32-year-old Nicholas Carrillo because they believed the car he was driving was involved in a robbery. Carrillo allegedly reversed and bumped into their car. Lopez fired two shots into Carrillo’s car before Carrillo jumped out and ran.

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“Murillo and Lopez gave chase and as Carrillo climbed over a six-foot fence, Murillo allegedly fired more shots, striking Carrillo twice in the back,” according to the DA’s statement.

Both detectives subsequently left the Whittier Police Department; we have asked department officials to explain why.

The charges

Lopez, 34, was charged with two felony counts of assault under the color of authority and one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Murillo, 41, was charged with two felony counts each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm causing great bodily injury and assault under the color of authority causing great bodily injury.

We are trying to reach Lopez and Murillo or their attorneys.

Why it matters

Since taking office in Dec. 2020, Gascón has filed charges against 13 officers involved in on-duty shootings or in-custody deaths. Over the previous 20 years, only two officers were charged in shootings. During his campaign, Gascón promised to more closely scrutinize police use-of-force.

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