Officer fired 7 shots at Los Angeles man who died after walking on interstate, attorneys say

The family of a Los Angeles man who was walking on an interstate and died after a confrontation with a California Highway Patrol officer is calling for the officer to be prosecuted.

The unidentified officer fired at Jesse Dominguez, 34, seven times, attorneys for his family, Luis Carrillo and Michael Carrillo, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Dominguez died at a hospital after the Nov. 19 encounter, according to a Los Angeles County Coroner’s report.

The highway patrol has previously said Dominguez used a stun gun on the officer, who then opened fire. A representative for the agency declined comment Tuesday and referred to its initial statement. "During the struggle, the pedestrian was able to access a taser he had in his possession, activated the weapon, and used the taser against the officer. Following the pedestrian’s use of the weapon against the officer, and in fear for his safety, the officer fired his service weapon, striking the pedestrian."

Video that circulated on social media showed the officer and Dominguez in a physical struggle. The highway patrol has not named the officer involved, nor has it released any video that might show the confrontation in context or close to its entirety, Dominguez family attorneys said.

The confrontation occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Part of Interstate 105 in Los Angeles County was shut down following 911 calls about a man walking on the freeway, according to a statement from California Attorney General Rob Bonta, whose office is investigating the confrontation.

A video played during the media briefing Tuesday showed the officer on top of Dominguez, who was on the ground before the officer shoots him several times at close range. The officer fired after Dominguez used a stun gun on the officer, according to the highway patrol.

Michael Carrillo, who is Luis' son, said the video played at Tuesday's news conference was filmed by a bystander. It's possible the video doesn’t capture the entire interaction. The physical struggle lasted about 15 seconds, and video began with the officer on top of Dominguez who was on the ground, Carrillo said.

Attorneys have not seen Dominguez's autopsy report, he said.

“An officer who has reverence for human life, looking at a young man walking on a major freeway, he should realize that this young man has some mental issues. Before he pulled out his gun, this officer should have called for mental health professionals,” Luis Carrillo said. “He should have called his sergeant. He should have called for backup, anything to preserve human life. But, no, he didn’t do any of those. He pulled out his gun, and he blasted Jesse to kingdom come with seven shots.”

Dominguez had bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, his family said.

On Tuesday, his family's attorneys also disputed the highway patrol's account that Dominguez had a stun gun during the confrontation.

Dominguez's family said that he had bought a stun gun, but that the highway patrol has not shown any evidence he had it with him during the incident.

"CHP hasn't released any photo of any Taser that they recovered. It could have been a telephone," Michael Carrillo said.

Luis Carrillo said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and county officials need to hold the officer accountable.

“This is an outrage,” he said. “We demand that Gascón charge this officer with second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. He is a danger to the community. He should not be wearing a badge. He should not be patrolling the streets anymore.”

Gascón’s office could be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. A representative with the highway patrol could not be reached Tuesday.

Relatives on Tuesday remembered Dominguez as a gentle man who was tight with his family. Michael Carrillo said Dominguez worked as a waiter but was an aspiring singer and actor.

Jose Figueroa, Dominguez's uncle, said no one deserves to die the way Dominguuez did.

"Fact is, my nephew is in a freezer right now. And this cop ... he needs to be jailed," Figueroa said.

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