The parents of a disabled man who was shot and killed in Kostko by a police officer on duty said they pleaded with a fellow shopkeeper not to fire his weapon because their son was not a threat.
Russell and Paola French, who were seriously injured in the June 14 shooting in Crown east of Los Angeles, spoke for the first time in public after their son Kenneth, 32, was fatally shot by Los Angeles police officer Salvador Sanchez. .
Sanchez maintains he opened fire after being knocked down by his infant son in his arms.
Russell French, who was shot in the chest and abdomen and lost a kidney, told a news conference Monday that he "begs" Sanchez not to fire, "I told him we had no guns and my son was sick."
Paola French, who was shot in the back and found herself in a coma, said she was "praying for my son and our life."
"What threat did I make to him?" she asked. Her son was a "peaceful and loving soul" who had never been aggressive, she said.
None of the French family were armed during the shooting.
Crown police said Kenneth French had attacked Sanchez without provocation. Sanchez's lawyer, David Winslow, said the officer was shopping in Kostko with his wife and had his infant son in his arms when the two were knocked down on the ground.
"While lying wounded on Kostko's floor, he was unprotected and had no other option to protect himself and his son from further lethal assault," the lawyer said in a statement after the incident. He said the "only option" is for the officer to use deadly force.
Ira Saltzman, another lawyer representing Sanchez, told the Associated Press that the officer was "assaulted" and "acting in self-defense."
"It's a terrible tragedy for both families," Saltzman said.
A lawyer for the French family, Dale Gallipo, said on Monday that Kenneth French, who is non-verbal, may have pushed the officer from behind, but the action was not an attack and the French family quickly moved away.
"This certainly does not justify the murder of anyone," Galipo said, adding that Sanchez should be charged with murder or manslaughter. The lawyer said he was not sure if there was any dispute before the shooting and called on authorities to release footage of the accident.
But a judge ordered the videos to remain sealed to the public for one year, pending an investigation by prosecutors, who
on Monday filed a French lawsuit claiming unspecified damages against the Los Angeles Police Department and the City of Los Angeles and Sanchez.
The statement said that Sanchez identified himself as an employee of the LAPD before the shooting and fired his weapon issued with the LAPD, but he "failed to give a verbal warning to the French family that deadly force would be used before the shooting" and ignores the couple's requests not to shoot.
"The firing of Kenneth, Russell and Paola French was unjustified, unreasonable and completely excessive, especially since neither Kenneth, nor Russell, nor Paola French, represented an imminent threat of death or serious injury to any son, including Officer Sanchez,
It said that Russell and Paola French suffered from emotional distress after the shooting and had increasing medical bills from multiple surgeries and needed home health care.
LAPD did not respond to request h Sanchez is on paid administrative leave, which is mandatory after an officer-involved shooting.