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Five San Diego lawmen cleared in pair of 2022 shootings

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-07 18:58:03-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three San Diego police officers and two San Diego County sheriff's deputies 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.

The first shooting stemmed from a Logan Heights liquor store robbery on Jan. 10, 2022.

According to the D.A.'s Office, Isaac Andrade, 21, used a knife to hold up Mullens Liquor Store and made off with about $600 from the register.

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

A D.A.'s Office review of the shooting states that Andrade pulled out a gun, which later turned out to be an airsoft pistol. SDPD Officers Michael Martinez, Micheal Muniz, and Angel Vidrios opened fire, striking Andrade multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The DA's review concluded that the officers fired on Andrade because he pointed what appeared to be a gun at Martinez, who thought he had been shot in the chest by Andrade during an exchange of gunfire.

The review states the lawmen "did not have time to consider less-lethal options as Andrade produced what they reasonably believed was a handgun as soon as officers started to approach him."

Martinez was also evaluated regarding whether he used excessive force in the shooting because he shot at Andrade more than 30 times.

The D.A.'s review states Andrade continued to point his gun at the officers after one volley of gunshots. After a second series of gunshots, the review alleges that while on the ground, Andrade moved his hand toward his firearm.

"Based on the (body-worn camera) and the officers' statements, it was reasonable for Martinez to believe the threat had not ended," the review states.

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

San Diego County sheriff's deputies David Lovejoy and Jonathan Young were part of an anti-auto theft task force that was tracking a stolen trailer.

The trailer was being towed by a van driven by Talavera, who got out of the van on Decker Street, according to a D.A.'s Office review of the shooting.

It states that while the deputies ordered Talavera to get on the ground, he yelled, "Just shoot me," then pulled a "black metallic object" out of his waistband.

Believing it was a gun, the deputies opened fire, striking Talavera several times. While on the ground, he grabbed the object -- which turned out to be a knife -- and Lovejoy shot at him two more times. In all, he sustained 16 gunshot wounds.

A detective on the auto theft task force was also shot in the leg during the gunfire.

The D.A.'s review found that Talavera "created a deadly force situation by pulling a metallic black object from his waistband, an item both deputies believed could have been a small firearm." Regarding the final two gunshots, the review states Talavera was told not to reach for the object, but he grabbed it and "tucked it into his body," leading Lovejoy to fear that Talavera "was arming himself again."

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