Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Video Shows Officer Shooting Airman (I'll post the video later)

CHINO, Calif. -- A videotape released Tuesday shows a sheriff's deputy shooting an unarmed Air Force policeman who recently returned from Iraq as he appeared to obey an order to get up off the ground.

KTLA-TV broadcast a 40-second clip it said came from a Chino resident who videotaped Sunday night's shooting, which followed a 100 mph car chase.

Senior Airman Elio Carrion, 21, was listed in good condition at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. He was shot three times in the chest, ribs and leg, his father-in-law, Ernesto Paz, told KTLA-TV.

State and federal investigators are reviewing the case, officials said.

Carrion was a passenger in a Corvette that crashed following a brief chase, authorities said.

Amateur photographer Jose Luis Valdez told The Associated Press that he made the video after the car crashed into the wall in front of his home. KTLA aired the videotape early Tuesday, then distributed it later in the day.

The dark, grainy picture shows Carrion lying on the ground next to the car, talking to a silhouetted officer who is pointing a gun at him. Carrion supports himself on one arm and his face is brightly lit by the officer's flashlight.

Carrion is heard telling the officer he is unarmed and is in the military.

At one point, a voice is heard saying several times: "Get up."

Carrion says: "I'm gonna get up." As he rises, at least four shots are fired and Carrion collapses, crying out in pain.

"Shots fired! Shots fired!" someone shouts.

In a telephone interview conducted in Spanish, Valdez said after the shooting, Carrion asks the deputy, "Why did you shoot me if you told me to stand up?" That alleged exchange cannot be heard on the video.

The deputy, whose name was not released, was placed on paid administrative leave, a routine procedure in officer-involved shootings.

Carrion was not charged with a crime, although the incident remained under investigation, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Robin Haynal.

The driver of the Corvette, identified by authorities as Luis Fernando Escobedo, 21, was arrested for investigation of felony evading.

Carrion and Escobedo had left a party at the home of Carrion's parents to drive to a store, said the airman's wife, Mariela.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Montclair home of Carrion's parents said they were headed to the hospital and nobody at the residence wanted to talk.

An Air Force spokesman, Lt. Frank Hartnett, said Carrion is a security officer at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La. Carrion joined the Air Force in January 2003 and recently returned from a six-month tour in Iraq, Hartnett said.

Chino is about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.


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