San Diego County District Attorney's Office discusses 3 officer-involved shootings, releases video

Posted at 1:20 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 20:56:51-04

SAN DIEGO - District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis Friday released review letters and videos from the scene of three officer-involved shootings in San Diego County since 2014, all deemed to be legally justified.

The District Attorney's independent review found that the fatal shooting of Daniel Avila by three Orange County sheriff's deputies on Aug. 4, 2015 was reasonable.

Dumanis said an Orange County deputy heard screeching tires around noon and saw Avila -- a Vista resident -- in a white car pointing and yelling at him and looking like he was preparing to ram the deputy's patrol car.

Avila, 55, said he had a gun and was going to kill the deputy or himself and that the deputy "better call for backup."

Federal and state officers responded to the location near Interstate 5 and Las Pulgas Road, but Avila continued to make threats and stated he was a suspect in the murder of his parents.

After more than an hour of attempted negotiations, Avila exited his vehicle with his right hand covered in a shirt, but officers were unable to tell if he had a weapon.

Avila continue to advance toward officers -- was struck with bean bag rounds -- and three OCSD deputies fired at him, striking him several times. Two border patrol agents also fired rounds at Avila, according to Dumanis.

Dumanis also found that the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Thongsoune Vilaysane by four San Diego police officers on May 11, 2016, was justified.

According to a letter to SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman, officers saw Vilaysane driving a stolen car away from a home in Pagel Place in southeast San Diego known to be frequented by gang members.

When a patrol unit turned around to follow Vilaysane, he accelerated and led officers on a pursuit.

Vilaysane pulled into a driveway and reversed backward at an angle toward officers, who opened fire.

Dumanis also found that the non-fatal shooting of Allan David Riley by a sheriff's deputy on April 8, 2014, was justified.

According to a letter to Sheriff William Gore, deputies Benjamin Chassen and Matthew Gibson contacted Riley to speak with him in La Mesa, and Riley gave them a false name and date of birth.

Deputies advised Riley there was a warrant out for his arrest and asked him for identification and to remove his backpack, but he backed away.

When Chassen tried to restrain Riley, Riley pulled out a knife and stabbed Chassen in the leg. Gibson saw the attack and shot Riley in the abdomen.

Riley, 58, was convicted this week of assault with a deadly weapon and other charges. He faces more than 38 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.