Law Enforcement Releases Video of Fatal Police Shooting in City Heights

Still from body camera worn by law enforcement in a City Heights fatal shooting. Image courtesy SDPD

Authorities Tuesday released video footage of a police shooting that fatally wounded a gun-wielding assault suspect last week in City Heights.

The events that led to the deadly law enforcement gunfire began about 11 p.m. Nov. 13, when the San Diego Police Department got an emergency call about a shooting that had left a woman wounded in the 4500 block of Polk Avenue in the Teralta East neighborhood, according to the county Sheriff’s Department, which investigates uses of lethal force on the part of SDPD personnel.

“Several officers responded to the scene and located the … victim with a minor wound to the forehead,” sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Jarjura said.

The woman identified the shooter — who by then had fled — as 22-year- old Imanol Aparicio of San Diego.

About a half-hour later, officers searching the area found Aparicio less than a mile southwest of the site of the shooting.

A uniform-mounted camera worn by one of the officers captured images of the suspect walking in the 4000 block of Wightman Street. When the lawman called out to Aparicio and told him to stop and take his hands out of his pockets, the suspect halted, turned around, held his arms straight out from his sides and replied, “Go for it, dude.” He then ran off, crossing the street and fleeing into an alley while allegedly reaching for a pistol tucked in his pants.

“Officers told him to stop but he did not comply,” Jarjura said. “He turned towards the officers while continuing to reach and manipulate something in his waistband.”

At that point, at least two of the officers opened fire, and Aparicio collapsed, wounded.

“While on the ground, the suspect continued to ignore the officers’ commands.” the lieutenant said. “He continued to move around and produced a firearm. The suspect’s behavior again prompted officers to discharge their weapons. The suspect was struck again and stopped moving.”

In all, the officers discharged about 15 rounds at the suspect.

After a service dog pulled Aparicio out of arm’s reach of the spot where he had dropped his gun, police moved in and performed CPR on him prior to the arrival of paramedics. An ambulance crew then took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No other injuries were reported.

The loaded ghost gun that Aparicio was carrying was jammed when police retrieved it, apparently having malfunctioned when the suspect pulled the trigger, according to Jarjura. A backpack Aparicio had been carrying contained a 30-round ammunition magazine loaded with 13 rounds, police said.

The lawmen who fired on the suspect were San Diego police Sgt. Matthew Ruggiero, and SDPD Officers Jeremy Avalos and Jonah Tafoya.