After mistrial, ex-LAPD cop who fatally shot disabled man in Corona Costco won't be retried

Police officers exit the Corona Costco following a shooting inside the wholesale warehouse store on June 14.
Police officers on the scene of a fatal shooting at a Costco store in Corona in June 2019. (Patrick Smith / For The Times)

Prosecutors won't seek a second trial against former Los Angeles police officer Salvador Sanchez, who shot and killed a mentally disabled man inside a Costco in Corona, the California attorney general's office said.

Sanchez faced one count of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of 32-year-old Kenneth French and two counts of assault with a firearm for wounding French's parents. But a mistrial was declared on Jan. 18 after a Riverside County Superior Court jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges.

The former LAPD officer could have faced a second trial, but the attorney general's office disclosed during a hearing Friday that it would not retry the case.

A spokesperson with the California Department of Justice said the department stood by its initial decision to charge and prosecute Sanchez, despite the mistrial.

"After considering a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the input of the surviving victims and feedback from the trial jury, the Department has decided not to retry the case," the spokesperson said.

Read more: Mistrial declared in case of L.A. cop who fatally shot mentally disabled man at Costco

Michael Schwartz, Sanchez's attorney, said the former officer was appreciative of the attorney general's decision.

"The stress on the Sanchez family, emotionally as well as financially, has been enormous," Schwartz said. "At this point, [Sanchez] just wants to support his family and raise his family in peace."

The attorney general's office charged Sanchez in August 2021, about a month after the Riverside County district attorney's office announced it would not file charges against him.

At the trial, attorneys for Sanchez said the off-duty police officer was holding his toddler son when he was knocked to the floor by French at the Costco. Believing he'd been shot, Sanchez drew his handgun and fired 10 times at French and his family, of Riverside. French was unarmed. The shots killed French and wounded his parents, who were nearby.

Schwartz said his client's only thought that day had been to "defend his son and himself from a violent assault."

A 30-page report released on the incident, however, found inconsistencies in Sanchez's account of what happened inside the store.

Police documents revealed French had been about 20 feet away from Sanchez when the former officer shot at him. The shooting, the documents showed, started about four seconds after French had struck Sanchez.

Read more: Family of man fatally shot by LAPD officer in Costco to get $17 million in damages

Sanchez was fired in July 2020, after then-LAPD Chief Michel Moore and the city's civilian Police Commission found that Sanchez's actions violated the department's policy.

In October 2021, a federal jury awarded French's family $17 million after finding that Sanchez used excessive and unreasonable force.

Two years later, the state jury in Riverside County deliberated for 3½ days without being able to agree on a verdict.

"The event was tragic for everyone," Schwartz said. "It's been five years. It's time for everyone to move on."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.