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DA clears officers involved in three San Diego County shootings

Posted at 4:08 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 19:08:42-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County District Attorney's Office cleared local law enforcement officers in three separate non-fatal shootings, all of which involved suspects who have since been convicted and sentenced for various crimes, according to reports released today.

The District Attorney's Office released its review of the 2015 shooting of murder suspect Ahmed Mumin in City Heights, the 2016 shooting of hostage-taker Edward Ray Nett in Rancho Santa Fe, and the 2018 shooting of Jesus Cirilo Rodriguez, who attacked a sheriff's deputy with a baseball bat in Fallbrook.

Mumin was the subject of a manhunt following the April 16, 2015, shooting death of 48-year-old Eric Schade at an Arco am/pm store on Balboa Avenue. Two days after Schade was killed, San Diego police officers tracked him to an apartment complex on Winona Avenue, during which Mumin fired on them through a door and was subsequently shot in the abdomen.

In a 2016 letter to then-San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, the District Attorney's Office wrote that Detectives Jim MacKay and Luke Johnson were searching the Winona Avenue complex with the help of uniformed officers.

When MacKay approached the door to a community room at the complex, Mumin fired on the detectives, who both "reasonably feared for their lives'' and fired in lawful self-defense, according to the DA's office. Mumin was convicted last year of Schade's killing and the attempted murders of the two officers and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The DA's office also ruled that sheriff's Sgt. Scott Bligh was justified in shooting Edward Ray Nett four times on Dec. 3, 2016, after Nett stabbed a sheriff's canine with a knife and used the same blade to take a 25- year-old Rancho Santa Fe resident hostage in the victim's apartment.

In a 2017 letter to San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, prosecutors said Nett threatened to kill his hostage, making Bligh's use of deadly force reasonable. Deputies were first dispatched to an apartment on Paseo Delicias for a disturbance call and found Nett in a staircase, where he made threatening statements to the deputies, who believed Nett may have been armed with both a knife and a gun, the letter states.

He was shot with pepper-ball rounds and a sheriff's canine was dispatched, but Nett stabbed the dog and broke through the front door of an apartment, where he held a knife to the victim's throat. Though Nett told the victim he wouldn't hurt him, he told the deputies that he was going to slit the man's throat, according to statements from the hostage.

Additional pepper-ball rounds fired into the apartment had no apparent effect on Nett, leading Bligh to attempt firing on Nett without hitting the hostage. "He felt there was no other way to prevent Nett from hurting or killing the hostage,'' the letter says.

Nett was struck in the chest, abdomen and wrist and taken into custody. The hostage was unharmed, while the sheriff's canine, Banjer, was treated for a puncture wound to his face and soon returned to work. Nett was convicted of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and animal cruelty and sentenced last year to 21 years and eight months in state prison.

The final review related to the shooting of Jesus Cirilo Rodriguez, 32, who was shot by an undercover sheriff's deputy on Dec. 21, 2018. Deputy David Cortez was conducting a stakeout regarding a series of bat attacks on victims in parked cars in the area of Reche and Ranger roads when he was attacked by Rodriguez around 4:20 a.m., according to the letter.

While Cortez sat in a parked, unmarked car, Rodriguez smashed the driver's side front window near where Cortez was sitting, leading the deputy to shoot Rodriguez seven times. The DA's Office wrote in its 2019 letter to Sheriff Gore that Cortez was justified in shooting Rodriguez "in light of the danger presented to him and the community.''

Rodriguez later pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer in the case. The public release of the DA's review comes one day after Rodriguez was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to enter a mental health treatment program.