D.A. clears officers who shot suspect in Henwood death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

D.A. clears officers who shot suspect in Henwood death

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Six uniformed San Diego police officers and a San Diego County probation officer were legally justified in fatally shooting a shotgun-wielding petty criminal less than an hour after he ambushed and killed a San Diego police officer in City Heights last August, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

Dejon White, 23, was armed with a Mossberg .12 gauge pump shotgun when he walked up to a man eating dinner in his car at the In-N-Out restaurant in El Cajon around 5:20 p.m. Aug. 6, shot and seriously wounded the diner, then fled in a black Audi, police said.

An El Cajon police officer spotted the speeding Audi and gave chase but soon called off the pursuit for safety reasons. About 10 minutes later, White drove up alongside SDPD Officer Jeremy Henwood as he sat in his patrol car on University Avenue and fired out of the Audi's front passenger side window, fatally striking Henwood in the head, police said.

White then drove to his 48th Street apartment, where he briefly got out of his car before climbing back in and driving off southbound in the 4000 block of 48th Street with police in pursuit. Shortly after 6 p.m., White slowed his car as he drove toward uniformed officers.

Six SDPD officers and a county probation officer opened fire on White as he armed himself with the same shotgun he used to kill Henwood and prior to that, wound the In-N-Out diner, police said.

The SDPD officers involved were identified as John Carroll, Nicholas Dedonato, Scott Holden, Christopher Luth, Kelly Stewart and Michael Usrey. The county probation officer was identified as Bobby Burns.

"Based on these circumstances, it's readily apparent that all seven officers fired at Mr. White in self-defense as well as in defense of one another," Dumanis wrote in a finding released Monday. "They therefore bear no criminal liability for their actions."

The officers were each armed with semi-automatic pistols, according to the ruling, which noted 36 shell casings were recovered at the scene. The shotgun White wielded was reported stolen during a residential burglary in Bryan, Texas, in March 2009, Dumanis said.

White was shot multiple times in his head and left shoulder, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. He had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time, the office concluded.

White had a prior history of theft, reckless driving, resisting arrest and other minor crimes. Police said he left behind a three-page suicide note in his apartment, but it made no mention of homicidal intentions and revealed no possible motive for the rampage.

Henwood was a four-year veteran of the SDPD and a Marine reservist, who served repeat deployments in Middle East war zones. A native of Ottawa, Canada, who grew up in Texas and later became a U.S. citizen, Henwood was the second SDPD officer killed on the job in a 10-month period. In late October 2010, Officer Chris Wilson, 50, was shot to death during a probation raid at a Skyline-area apartment complex.

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