Five local law officers cleared in two 2022 shootings, including Logan Heights fatality

fatal police shooting
Image from police body camera video just before the fatal shooting in Logan Heights. Image via YouTube from the San Diego Police Department

Three san diego police officers and two san diego county sheriff‘s officers have been cleared of criminal liability in a pair of shootings, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

The shootings, which took place last year in Logan Heights and El Cajon, left one suspect dead and another wounded.

He first shot stemmed from a robbery at a Logan Heights liquor store on January 10, 2022.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Isaac Andrade, 21, used a knife to hold up Mullens Liquor Store and made off with about $600 from the cash register.

After leaving the store, police found him in a nearby alley.

A District Attorney’s Office review of the shooting states that Andrade drew a weapon, which later turned out to be a BB gun. SDPD officers Michael Martinez, Micheal Muniz, and Angel Vidrios opened fire, hitting Andrade multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The prosecutor’s review concluded that officers shot Andrade because he pointed what appeared to be a gun at Martinez, who thought Andrade had shot him in the chest during an exchange of fire.

The review states that law enforcement officers “did not have time to consider less lethal options as Andrade drew what they reasonably believed to be a handgun as soon as officers began closing in on him.”

Martinez was also tested on whether he used excessive force in the shooting because he shot Andrade more than 30 times.

The prosecutor’s review indicates that Andrade continued to point his gun at the officers after a barrage of shots. After a second series of shots, the review alleges that while he was on the ground, Andrade moved her hand toward his firearm.

“Based on the (body camera) and the officers’ statements, it was reasonable for Martinez to believe the threat was not over,” the review states.

The other shooting was the non-fatal shooting of Erik Talavera, 31, in El Cajon on February 16, 2022.

san diego county sheriffthe deputies David Lovejoy and Jonathan Young they were part of an auto theft task force that was tracking down a stolen trailer.

The trailer was being towed by a pickup truck driven by Talavera, who got out of the pickup on Decker Street, according to a DA’s Office review of the shooting.

She says that as the officers ordered Talavera to get on the ground, he yelled, “Just shoot me,” and then pulled a “black metallic object” from his waist.

Believing it was a weapon, the agents opened fire, hitting Talavera on several occasions. While he was on the ground, he grabbed the object, which turned out to be a knife, and Lovejoy shot him two more times. In total, he suffered 16 bullet wounds.

An auto theft task force detective was also shot in the leg during the shootout.

The prosecutor’s review found that Talavera “created a situation of deadly force by removing a black metallic object from her waistband, an item that both deputies believed might have been a small firearm.” Regarding the last two shots, the review states that Talavera was told not to reach for the object, but he grabbed it and “threw it into his body,” leading Lovejoy to fear that
Talavera “rearmed.”

Talavera was later charged and pleaded guilty to unlawful taking of a vehicle and brandishing a weapon.

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