CORONA (CBSLA) — A man who was shot and killed by an off-duty LAPD officer inside a Costco in Corona on Friday night was “non-verbal,” a family member told CBS Los Angeles.
Corona police say 32-year-old Kenneth French from Riverside allegedly assaulted the unidentified officer inside the store on Friday night. French’s mother, Paula, and father, Russell, were also shot and critically wounded.
Both remained in critical condition at Riverside Community Hospital on Sunday but French’s cousin — Rick Shureih — told CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills his uncle was “doing better” (he had a breathing tube removed) but his aunt “is still not out of the woods.”
In a post on Facebook, Shureih posted a photo of his family asking, “Do they look intimidating to you? … Did he really have to shoot them all?”
Investigators say the alleged attack against the officer — who was holding his young child at the time — was unprovoked.
The child was not hurt, but the officer was treated at a hospital and released.
Shureih says it all had to be a horrible misunderstanding. He says his cousin was “never violent.” He said Kenneth had “mental issues” but nothing that ever made him violent. He told Mills that Kenneth was a big guy and because of his issues he had a blank look on his face.
On Facebook Shureih wrote, “I’m not keeping quiet about this. People need to know this is my family.”
Corona police say they’re working with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office to determine the facts of the case. An LAPD use-of-force team is conducting its own investigation.
Sunday evening, CBS2/KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo spoke to more of the dead man’s friends and family.
They told her French and his parents are “loving and kind” people. None of them were armed.
The friends also said that because French had mental problems, the entire incident should have been handled differently.
Because he was non-verbal, they said had he bumped into someone he wouldn’t have been able to say he was sorry.
The family told Fajardo they are considering hiring an attorney to represent them.
A GoFundMe page was created to help the French family with expenses.