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District attorney says four officers justified in April shooting

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Four South San Francisco police officers who fired 32 rounds at suspects fleeing the scene of a robbery in April will not be charged with a crime, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe announced Wednesday.

Wagstaffe concluded that use of force that resulted in the minor injury to suspect Kevin Lewis was justifiable under California law, and charges will not be filed.

The four officers involved in the shooting were John Paulo, Steven Miller, David Vazquez and Robert Roman.

On April 21, officers responded to a report of several individuals, later identified as Lewis, Rhyon Griffin and Paul Mack, breaking into a secured construction area in a parking structure.

Officers blocked the vehicle exit with patrol cars and Griffin, the driver of the trio’s pickup truck, repeatedly collided with police vehicles.

The four officers then fired a total of 32 rounds, one possibly striking Lewis and leaving a 5- to 6-centimeter laceration on his back. Doctors were not certain it was due to a gunshot because of the appearance of the injury.

According to the district attorney, Paulo fired shots at the driver of the truck to avoid being run down, and then to avoid being crushed while pinned between the truck and a patrol vehicle.

Vazquez fired shots out of fear for the safety of Paulo and Sgt. Michael Toscano, who was also present. Miller fired shots at the back of the driver’s seat in an attempt to stop the driver as well. Roman fired one shot, also fearing for Paulo’s life.

Lewis and Griffin are charged with felony assault on a police officer, felony burglary, felony grand theft and felony evading, and a jury trial is set for Aug. 5.

Mack is in custody in San Mateo County for a pending case there.


 

Correction: Because of an error by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, an earlier version of this story said the suspect was in jail in Alameda County. The suspect is in jail in San Mateo County. The story has been corrected for accuracy.

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