An investigation by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office that took almost a full year has concluded that two Fremont officers were justified when they fatally shot a 16-year-old female during their attempt to arrest an armed robbery suspect in Hayward last year.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Graff said in a 30-page report that the death of Elena “Ebbie” Mondragon of Antioch “was unintended and tragic” and he believes that Fremont Detective Joel Hernandez and Sgt. Jeremy Miskella “acted in lawful” self-defense when they fired shots at suspect Rico Tiger, 19, and struck her instead.
Graff said the evidence supports the conclusion that Hernandez and Miskella acted “under an actual and reasonable belief” that Tiger posed an immediate threat of death or great bodily injury to themselves and other officers by driving his BMW at them while they were trying to arrest him on a warrant for multiple armed robberies in Fremont, Union City and Santa Clara County.
The shooting occurred near the City View Apartments complex at 25200 Carlos Bee Blvd. near the California State University East Bay campus at about 5:20 p.m. on March 14, 2017.
Mondragon, who was pregnant, was treated by the Hayward Fire Department at the scene and then transported to a trauma center, where she died of her injuries.
Two Fremont police detectives who were injured when Tiger allegedly drove into police vehicles were treated and released from a hospital, said Hayward police, who investigated the incident.
Tiger fled the scene on foot but was arrested in San Francisco the next day, Alameda County District Attorney Inspector Jason Riechers wrote in a probable cause statement.
In a separate document, the District Attorney’s Office recently charged Tiger with murder for allegedly causing Mondragon’s death and with two counts of the attempted murder of a police officer for allegedly trying to kill Miskella and a colleague, Fremont Officer Ghailan Chahouati.
Prosecutors also charged Tiger with vehicular manslaughter for allegedly killing Cristel Antunez-Ayala in a vehicle crash at Bancroft and 90th avenues in East Oakland on Feb. 26, 2017.
Authorities didn’t disclose Antunez-Ayala’s age but her family said in a social media post “she was at the peak of her youth and at the beginning of adulthood.”
Riechers said Tiger was driving a stolen Audi at an estimated 90 miles per hour and alleged that he was fleeing from Oakland police officers who suspected the vehicle was the getaway car used in the Santa Clara robberies.
Riechers wrote that Tiger told Fremont police detectives in an interview after the shooting in Hayward that he didn’t see any sign that the men who tried to stop him were police.
Riechers said Tiger claimed he “blacked out” and couldn’t remember much more about the Hayward incident but confessed to committing multiple armed robberies over the prior year and to killing Antunez-Ayala in the Oakland crash.
Riechers said Tiger currently is in custody in Santa Clara County on a pending criminal case in which he’s charged with multiple armed robberies.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said it isn’t yet known when Tiger will be transferred to Alameda County to be prosecuted for the crimes he is accused of committing in their county.