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DA Investigation Of Gaines Shooting Finds No Criminal Conduct By Officer

The District Attorney says the South City police officer who shot teenager Derrick Gaines in June did not commit criminal conduct.

DA Investigation Of Gaines Shooting Finds No Criminal Conduct By Officer

According to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, the DA has completed its investigation into the death of Derrick Gaines, the South City 15-year-old who was shot by a police officer at the Arco gas station on Gellert Blvd and Westborough on June 5.

Inspectors Ivan Grosshauser and William Massey of the DA's Office conducted the investigation, and DA Stephen Wagstaffe stated Wednesday that the filing of criminal charges are not warranted against officer involved, Joshua Cabillo of the South City Police Department.

A press release stated that Wagstaffe concluded that the use of lethal force was a lawful response to the conduct by Gaines and no criminal conduct by Cabillo occurred. 

Thus, the DA declines to file criminal charges and the case is now deemed closed by the DA's Office.

Update 4:45 p.m.: In a letter dated Aug. 29 to South San Francisco Police Chief Michael Massoni, District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe gave details of the investigation’s findings. A PDF of this letter is attached to this article. According to the report, the events that immediately led up to the shooting were as follows:

Gaines attempted to flee the Arco gas station property after Officer Cabillo had instructed him and his companion, Remy Carrillo, to sit down. The officer chased after Gaines.

Officer Cabillo observed a weapon in Gaines’s waistband and the officer pulled his own weapon while running. The officer struck Gaines on the head with his service weapon in order to stop him, and both individuals fell to the ground. During the tumble, a gun fell from Gaines’s waistband onto the ground. Gaines moved his arm in the direction of his dropped firearm.

According to the report, “Officer Cabillo concluded that he did not have enough time to get to the firearm before the subject would, and believed that once the firearm was seized by Gaines that it would be used on the officer. Fearing for his life, Officer Cabillo fired a shot, which hit the subject in the neck.”

“This is what we expected from this investigation -- that this police officer would be exonerated and protected,” Dolores Piper, the great aunt of Gaines, said on Wednesday afternoon in reference to the DA's conclusions.

Piper spoke on the phone from Butte, Montana, where she was visiting family and dispersing Gaines’s ashes.

Oakland-based attorney John Burris has filed a claim on behalf of the Gaines family.

"This decision today has no impact whatsoever on my decision [to file against the city]," Burris said Wednesday, in reference to the DA's statement. "[The DA's Office is] looking at it from a criminal point of view -- that’s a very high standard for a police officer. My civil rights case is about wrongful death and violation of civil rights."

Burris intends to file suit against the city of South San Francisco this fall.

For more details of the DA investigation, see the PDF attached to this article. 

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