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Lakeside man seeks accountability from deputies who shot him more than a dozen times

Erik Talavera.jpg
Posted at 12:07 PM, Nov 28, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A man involved in a shooting incident with San Diego County sheriff's deputies in El Cajon a year and a half ago, is suing the county and the two deputies who opened fire on him.

Erik Talavera's attorneys said despite the fact that the District Attorney's Office cleared the deputies of criminal liability in the shooting, they believe the deputies were too aggressive.

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"I have PTSD sometimes," said Telavera as he announced Tuesday the filing of a civil rights lawsuit at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego.

The lawsuit filed in San Diego federal court alleges Erik Talavera was in the process of surrendering when he was shot on Feb. 16, 2022.

According to district attorney investigators, deputies David Lovejoy and Jonathan Young attempted to stop Talavera, who was driving a stolen trailer in El Cajon. It was reported that Talavera was under the influence of drugs, including fentanyl.

The D.A.'s Office said the deputies instructed him to get on the ground, but he allegedly disregarded their commands and instead challenged them to shoot him. Subsequently, he reportedly reached for a knife in his waistband, prompting both deputies to discharge their weapons, firing a total of 15 rounds.

Read more: Detective, suspect injured in shooting during El Cajon traffic stop

Then Talavera dropped the knife but deputies said he attempted to reach for it again.

That's when Deputy Lovejoy fired two more rounds. Those actions are what Talavera's attorneys called criminal.

WATCH: Video released following El Cajon deputy-involved shooting

"It's criminal because at that point he knows that Mr. Talavera doesn't pose any danger to him. The knife that was on the scene had been sitting out in front of them for several seconds," said Marcus Bourassa, Talavera's attorney. "Everyone there understands that it's a knife. We know that because none of them opened fire."

Talavera is currently on probation for his involvement with the stolen trailer, according to his attorney.

ABC 10News reached out to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for comment, but the department said it does not comment on pending litigation.