Parents of Schizophrenic Man Fatally Shot By Off-Duty Cop Awarded $17M

The parents of a 32-year-old schizophrenic man fatally shot by an off-duty member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2019 has been awarded $17 million by a federal jury, the Associated Press reported.

"I am pleased with the verdict and hoping it brings some justice to the family," Dale Galipo, an attorney for the family, told KNBC-TV.

The federal jury in Riverside, California, concluded that Salvador Sanchez, a seven-year LAPD veteran, was acting within the scope of his employment during the incident, even though he was off duty.

The June 14, 2019, shooting took place in a Costco store in Corona, where Sanchez was at a sausage sample table holding his 1½-year-old son when he was knocked to the ground by Kenneth French.

According to authorities, French struck or shoved Sanchez from behind without warning, knocking him to the ground. Sanchez pulled out a handgun and opened fire, killing French and seriously wounding French's parents, Russell and Paola French, who later said that French had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Sanchez told investigators he believed Kenneth French had a gun, that he had been shot and that his life and his son's life were in immediate danger.

French did not have a gun and was moving away when Sanchez opened fire.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Parents of Schizophrenic Man Fatally Shot
The parents of a 32-year-old schizophrenic man fatally shot by an off-duty member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2019 has been awarded $17 million by a federal jury. Above, Kevin French reacts as his father, Russell French, speaks about the fatal shooting of Kenneth French, during a news conference in Corona, California, on August 26, 2019. Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register/Associated Press

The city will review its options, including an appeal, said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.

The LAPD fired Sanchez last year after the city's civilian Board of Police Commissioners determined that French's conduct did not present an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury—meaning that the use of lethal force was not "objectively reasonable."

The Riverside County district attorney declined to charge Sanchez criminally when a grand jury didn't indictment him. However, the state attorney general charged him with voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

He is awaiting trial.

An email seeking comment from David Winslow, an attorney who is representing Sanchez in the criminal case, wasn't immediately returned.