An internal department investigation into the recent fatal shooting of a Cathedral City man by a police officer has been completed and sent to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, according to a police spokesman this week.
“The district attorney and coroner’s office will independently review the case,” Cathedral City police Lt. Chuck Robinson said in an e-mail to The Desert Sun on Monday. “We are looking forward to the complete facts to come out so we can put this to rest.”
In the early hours of Sept. 19, a Cathedral City police officer shot Jesus Juan Hernandez-Cazares, 21, twice.
The officer was responding to a report that an armed man had broken into a duplex next door to Hernandez-Cazares’ girlfriend’s house, authorities said.
The duplex’s residents, who did not know Hernandez- Cazares, called 911.
When police arrived, Hernandez-Cazares, who had a gun, was out front and opted to run back to the house instead of show his hands, according to Robinson.
Police gave chase, and Hernandez-Cazares was shot and killed in the ensuing struggle, Robinson said.
The district attorney’s office has not yet reviewed the police department’s investigation into the shooting, DA spokesman Michael Jeandron said.
“We take a thorough look at every officer-involved shooting in the community,” he said Tuesday. “Whenever there’s a shooting we do that review.”
It wasn’t clear when the DA’s review would be completed.
The officer who shot Hernandez-Cazares was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident and returned to the job the last week in September, authorities said.
Robinson declined to discuss the internal investigation Tuesday since it was a personnel matter.
Jeandron said DA investigators either would send the Cathedral City Police Department a formal letter saying they found the officer did not act criminally or they would file charges against the officer, depending on the investigation’s outcome.
Family and friends of Hernandez-Cazares, also known as “Chapo,” said they were shocked and puzzled over what happened. Questions remain about the confrontation.
At a protest Saturday at Cathedral City Hall, members of Hernandez-Cazares’ family said they were frustrated with police for not having received updates on the investigation since they hired a lawyer several weeks ago.
“Any and all communications are being handled by the respective counsels,” Robinson stated in his e-mail Monday.
“Up until the time the Hernandez family retained counsel, we had been in constant contact with them.”