Investigation of shooting of unarmed U.S. airman by police keys on audio recording


By PAUL CHAVEZ
Associated Press Writer

SAN BERNARDINO, California- Prosecutors considering whether charges should be filed in the videotaped shooting of an unarmed airman by a sheriff's deputy are awaiting an FBI enhancement of the tape and are particularly interested in the audio, officials said Friday.

Deputy Ivory J. Webb, 45, shot Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion, 21, three times on Jan. 29 as the Iraq veteran was rising from the ground.

Carrion was a passenger in a Corvette that was involved in a high-speed nighttime chase before crashing into a wall in Chino, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

On the shadowy videotape recorded by a resident, Carrion can be seen on the ground just outside the car's passenger door and Webb is standing nearby, pointing a gun at him. A voice sounds as if it commands Carrion to get up. When the airman begins to rise, the deputy shoots him three times.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said authorities have viewed the videotape nearly frame by frame many times but "we want the clearest audio, that's the most important part."

An FBI enhancement will be completed in one or two weeks, Ramos said.

Investigators also are reviewing tape recordings made from belt-mounted audio recorders worn by Chino police officers at the scene of the shooting. Webb also wore a belt tape recorder, but it was not turned on, Ramos said.

Ramos declined to estimate when the work would be completed.

Webb has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

Carrion, who had recently returned from duty in Iraq, has been released from a hospital but remains on medical leave from the Air Force.

He has yet to be interviewed by prosecutors, Ramos said.

A call to Carrion's attorney was not immediately returned Friday.

The FBI is separately conducting a civil rights investigation of the shooting.

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