A Huntington Beach, CA, police officer who fatally shot a 27-year-old man during a scuffle outside a 7-Eleven store in September will not face criminal charges, the Orange County district attorney's office announced Wednesday.
According to Assistant District Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh, the office determined that Officer Eric Esparza was legally justified when he shot Dillan Tabares, a homeless Navy veteran who had been paroled from state prison eight days earlier. The Sept. 22 shooting was captured on bystanders' videos that were widely circulated on social media, reports the Daily Pilot.
"It is clear in this case, based on the totality of all the available evidence, Officer Esparza was justified in believing Tabares posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to Officer Esparza and possibly other civilians in the parking lot," Baytieh wrote in a letter to Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.
"This conclusion is based on all of the circumstances, particularly the conduct of Tabares leading up to the shooting," Baytieh added.
In October, roughly a month after the shooting, Huntington Beach police named Tabares as the suspect in the fatal beating of Richard Darland, 80, who was found outside his home in the 7800 block of Ellis Avenue on Sept. 19, three days before Tabares was shot.