01/12/2001

11-year-old's killing was
accidental, report says
[Modesto, CA]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(MODESTO, Calif.) -- The shooting of an 11-year-old boy during a drug raid last September was an accident, although investigators still haven't figured out what caused the officer to pull the trigger, a report on the shooting revealed.

The summary of the police investigation was released Wednesday. The Modesto Bee said in a published reported that local police are faulting federal agencies for shoddy intelligence because they didn't know there was a possibility that children lived in the house.

During a raid on a suspected drug house on Sept. 13, Officer David Hawn, holding a shotgun, somehow pulled the trigger and killed Alberto Sepulveda. Police Chief Roy Wasden said there is no doubt that Hawn pulled the trigger.

"The trigger had to be pulled, I'm convinced of that," the Bee quoted Wasden as saying. "But I can't find any reason officer (David) Hawn would want that shotgun to discharge. There was no intent."

Since the shooting, changes have been made to SWAT team policy and procedures, the chief told the newspaper. The department also said it will no longer assist outside agencies in serving warrants without detailed information to justify the level of force requested, according to the newspaper.

Federal agents believes that the boy's father was a member of a drug-trafficking ring operating from the house but no drugs were found during the raid, police said.

The attorney representing the dead boy's family said the report didn't' go far enough to explain how the shooting occurred. The lawyer, Arturo Gonzalez, told the newspaper that he will press for more answers.

Full story: ...

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