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Police Cleared in Koenig Shooting

Colby Joshua Koenig’s parents are weighing the findings of an inquiry clearing  Laguna Beach police of criminal culpability in their son’s death, the family’s attorney said this week.

For the first time, the district attorney’s office made public last week a detailed report about the officer-involved shooting of Koenig, who was under the influence of a powerful cocktail of illicit and prescribed drugs when he sped into Laguna Beach at 8 a.m. Jan 12 and caused a six-vehicle collision.

Koenig’s parents, of Palos Verdes, in July filed a wrongful death claim against the city, accusing the police of excessive force in the shooting. They have made no decision yet on pursuing a legal remedy, Los Angeles attorney Joseph Barrett said Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Foothill Ranch college student was shot by three police officers as he tried to flee in his crumpled Mitsubishi Lancer toward a crowd of bystanders at a Coast Highway intersection.

That morning, as well as the prior evening, Koenig had behaved strangely, his roommate told investigators. The unidentified roommate, who said Koenig was under a doctor’s care for attention deficit disorder, also described Koenig experiencing a psychotic episode the month before.

Altogether, 15 rounds were fired by Corporal Paul Bixby, Officer Rod MacDonald, and Sgt. George Ramos at Koenig’s vehicle. The latter two officers wielded .40 caliber semi-automatic weapons, according to the report.

Since a .40 caliber bullet fragment was removed from Koenig’s head, “there is no way to determine who fired the final shot,” pointed out Larry Bammer, president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association, who nevertheless praised the report’s transparency for providing accountability of the department’s actions.

“We’re showing all the cards,” Bammer said, which he hopes should allay skepticism about the findings and any future officer-involved inquiries.

Investigators interviewed 60 witnesses and obtained police-vehicle video recordings as part of the inquiry, intended to solely determine whether if officers’ conduct was criminal, said the report’s author, Howard Gundy, a senior deputy district attorney.

In a statement, District Attorney Tony Rackaukas said all future officer-involved shooting inquires and or custodial death investigations will follow a similar full-disclosure format.

 

 

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