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D.A.: Bank robber's shooting justified
[Santa Cruz, CA]

July 02, 2001

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D.A.: Bank robber's shooting justified
[Santa Cruz, CA]

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July 3, 2001
Sentinel staff writer

A preliminary finding by the District Attorney’s Office has concluded that six Santa Cruz police officers justifiably fired their weapons after an alleged bank robber waved a handgun at them Friday afternoon at a mall at Ocean Street and Soquel Avenue.

District Attorney Kate Canlis said Monday the finding is based on interviews with the officers involved and other witnesses to the shooting. Canlis said a final report will be released in about a month, after more information, interviews and an examination of the physical evidence is completed.

Canlis said the handgun officers saw has been recovered but has not been analyzed yet.

Raimond Quintin, 29, of Monterey was killed during the shootout. An autopsy has yet to determine if he was killed by the officers’ bullets or if he shot himself. Witnesses at the scene said they heard between five and 20 shots and watched as the van’s windows seemed to explode.

Typically, peace officers can fire their weapons if they or innocent bystanders are threatened. Quintin’s van was parked in a lot at the mall, where workers in nearby businesses were told to lock their doors or leave the area.

Meanwhile, the names of the six officers involved were released by the Santa Cruz Police Department on Monday. They are on paid leave. Departmental policy requires an officer who discharges a weapon on duty to be placed on paid leave.

The officers involved: Sgt. Rudy Escalante, a 16-year veteran; Sgt. Erik Swannack, a 12-year veteran; officer Aron Tripp, a 5-year veteran; officer Michael Headley, a 6-year veteran; officer David Forbus, a 1? year veteran; and reserve officer Scott Christy.

Jeff Locke, deputy police chief, said reserve officers are only part-time volunteers but are trained just like full-time paid officers, have the same arrest powers and can fire a weapon if they or innocent bystanders are threatened.

Quintin recently had been released from state prison after serving several years for committing a string of bank robberies in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties in 1996.

Upon his release from prison, however, he was wanted by federal officials for violating probation because he had not reported to parole officers as required. Police suspected Quintin was responsible for two bank robberies in downtown Santa Cruz in June, saying his past crimes matched the methods used in the recent robberies.

About 2 p.m. Friday, police spotted Quintin entering his white Plymouth Voyager at the shopping mall, facing Soquel Avenue. When confronted, Quintin allegedly pointed the handgun out the window, which prompted officers who were taking cover nearby to fire their weapons at him.

He continued to move about the van and tried to provoke officers to shoot at him again, police said. At some point he crawled over the driver’s seat and laid down on the floor, police said.

About an hour later, SWAT members removed Quintin’s lifeless body from the van.

Canlis said Monday the handgun remains on the floor of the Voyager, which has been secured and placed in a warehouse awaiting processing by the Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators. That investigation could begin today. She said no one has touched the weapon yet, but she’s positive it’s the same handgun officers saw at the scene.

The investigation into the police shooting is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Christine McGuire and investigator James Gray.

Contact Darrel W. Cole at dcole@santa-cruz.com.

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