Calif. cops cleared in 2 fatal shootings, videos released

Prosecutors found no wrongdoing by officers in two separate shootings


Alma Fausto
The Orange County Register

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Prosecutors found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by officers in two separate shootings in 2018 and have closed the investigations into them.

District Attorney Todd Spitzer detailed the incidents and released body camera footage from officers during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 28.

In the first incident on May 31, 2018, Katherine Ann Brazeau walked into her former mental health therapist’s office in Fullerton and stabbed her, the prosecutor detailed. The wounded therapist managed to call police for help and two Fullerton officers–Sgt. Perry Thayer and Cpl. Steven Bailor– found that Brazeau, 46, was barricaded in an office inside the practice with the therapist.

One of the officers kicked open the office door and found Brazeau trying to stab the therapist, who already was wounded in the back. The camera footage showed the officer commanding her to put the large hunting knife down but she refused and the officers both shot her. She sustained seven gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. The therapist recovered from a large stab wound in her lower back.

Spitzer also released the findings of the investigation into a separate shooting in Santa Ana on July 1, 2018. Donadony Blake Taylor, 46, was shot twice by one officer in the parking structure adjacent to Santa Ana police headquarters and Central Men’s Jail.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Taylor had entered the lobby of the jail carrying a long metal pipe and two metal stakes. He left after Orange County sheriff’s staff told him to leave.

Then, at about 11:30 p.m. he was spotted at the parking structure by a witness who saw him trying to break into cars while still carrying the metal objects. The witness called 911 and the officer who arrived — Officer Gavin Roelofs — commanded Taylor to put the pipe down. He did not comply so the officer discharged his Taser at Taylor who was not affected by the impact. Taylor appeared to reach for the Taser probes and pulled one out before the officer fired his weapon and hit the suspect twice. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m.

As is customary, the District Attorney’s office sends the investigation findings and legal conclusions to the chiefs of the police agencies involved in the incidents.

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©2019 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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