About a month ago, a former Santa Ana College student was fatally shot by Tustin police outside his family home. He was armed with a knife, officers said.
But witnesses claim Robert Villa was unarmed.
Nobody will know until the Orange County District Attorney’s investigation is complete.
Villa, 23, is one of 38 people gunned down by Orange County officers since 2010 and the second Rancho Santiago Community College District student.
The statistics are jarring.
About 40 percent of victims were unarmed and the OCDA has never charged an officer in an on-duty shooting.
Activists argue that the volume of police-involved shootings and lack of charges against them is too much of a coincidence.
“The system is set up to protect these officers,” said Damion Ramirez, a victims rights activist.
But society recognizes the difficulty officer’s face. Police make life-altering choices during high-stress situations within seconds.
The hard truth is that officer-involved shootings are complicated. When police roll up on a call, they are unsure of what dangers they face. Not one call or incident is ever the same.
Nobody is sure what kind of family disturbance occurred that required a 911 call for a squad car to Villa’s home. When officers staked out Julian Collender’s home, they were responding to reports that he robbed a group at gunpoint that day.
In situations like that, officers must respond with clear threats in mind not only for their own personal safety, but the safety of those around them.
Officer-involved-shootings are always tragic. No one wins.
Related Story: Former Student Fatally Shot