No Charges In Police Shooting Of Rueben Galindo
The CMPD officer who shot Reuben Galindo will not face criminal charges, says Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray.
Galindo, a 29-year-old Hispanic man, called police on the night of September 6th, saying he had a gun with no bullets and wanted officers to come to his home. After a brief encounter with officers, Galindo was shot twice and died steps away from his home. The gun in Galindo's possession did not have ammunition.
Murray says although the shooting is tragic, it was not unlawful. If an officer feels their life or the lives of others are in danger, Murray says they are allowed to fire their weapon.
In this case, body camera footage shows that Galindo's hands were the air in a V shape when he was shot, but Murray says there are other factors to consider.
"When looking at it from the split seconds that the officer has to assess the situation, knowing that he’s going to a scene where someone is intoxicated and not being compliant and where someone will not put down a gun and then pulls out a gun at the time, gives the officer the right to defend himself based on that scenario," Murray said.
He says simply having a gun and not immediately putting it down puts everyone at risk.
"You have to look at it from the officers’ standpoint, from them not certain if they were going to an ambush, not certain what this person’s intentions were."
Murray also notes that Galindo told a 911 operator that he had been drinking. They couldn't be sure there wasn't ammunition in the gun, Murray says.
Officer David Guerra told investigators he saw Galindo's "elbow pivot backwards and the muzzle raised in my direction."
Guerra fired, striking Galindo first in the chest and then head.
"I had the conscious thought of I have to shoot this guy because I immediately felt a threat . . . from him pointing a firearm at me. I didn’t know if it was loaded or not but . . . I recognized immediately as a firearm and it was pointed at me."
Another officer, Courtney Suggs, also fired his weapon. None of his shots struck Galindo.
An attorney for the Galindo family, Brian Hochman, says the DA’s office did go over the findings with Galindo’s partner, Azucena Zamorano, before it became public. Hochman says she's very upset and has questions about the report. Mainly, one that she had posed to Chief Kerr Putney at a public meeting.
"If you have your hands in the air doesn’t that mean you’re not going to be shot? Or it’s not justified in shooting? And I think that continues to be our focus," Hochman says.
Hochman says he's disappointed, but not surprised by Murray's decision. However, he says Murray's decision does not mean the shooting was justified.
"This is simply a decision not to charge these police officers with the crime of murder. It is not a decision as to whether policies and procedures were followed, whether this act was reasonable."
He says a lawsuit will be filed to get those answers.