SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Santa Ana police confirmed Wednesday that an officer shot and killed an unarmed 22-year-old homeless man after a short foot pursuit at a shopping center 24 hours ago.
Hans Kevin Arellano was shot once in the chest when he got into a confrontation with a female 13-year veteran officer in a juice shop parking lot near South Harbor Boulevard and McFadden Avenue, according to Santa Ana interim Police Chief Carlos Rojas.
Rojas said Arellano was “combative” when he initially got into altercations with various people in a McDonald’s parking lot around 3 p.m.
When authorities arrived to the scene, Arellano ran to nearby Jugo’s La Tropicana, where the shooting unfolded.
“It was a confrontation. It wasn’t a casual conversation,” Rojas said.
When asked why the officer didn’t Taser the suspect, Rojas said, “Could the officer have had other options? There’s always a lot of different options you have in these situations. It really comes down to the mindset of the officer at that time and what threat they may have been facing.”
The police chief said Arellano had contact with the police in the past. He was convicted in a prior burglary case. Prior to his death, the father of two had also been identified in a photo lineup as a wanted suspect in a recent robbery.
CBS2’s Michele Gile reported that for the past few weeks, Arellano had been living behind a furniture store with other homeless friends.
“Why would they pull out a gun instead of Tasering him? Why couldn’t they Taser him? He was only 22 years old. He acted not even his age. He acted like a 10-year-old,” a woman said.
Arellano’s sister, Tania, was devastated by her brother’s death.
“He never carried weapons. He always came to the house. I have four kids and he was always like, ‘Hey guys! What are you doing?’ As you can see in pictures, he’s always smiling. He had really nice dimples and he was always smiling,” she said.
The officer involved in the shooting is currently on paid leave. She could be back to work in a few days after she’s cleared by a department psychologist.
There are three separate investigations into the shooting.