Following the officer-involved shooting of Jesus Gomez Quezada on June 5, 2015 in Santa Maria, District Attorney Joyce Dudley released her legal report stating police officer Raymon Easter and detective Nathan Totorica “acted reasonably in their use of deadly force.”
At 9:36 p.m. on June 5, Quezada called 9-1-1 saying he’d stabbed his wife multiple times in the stomach and didn’t know if she was still alive, according to the report released last week. Quezada also told the dispatcher he had a handgun and a loaded rifle he would use if he exited his 304 West Williams Street home in Santa Maria and that he’d shoot anyone who walked by the house. He told Santa Maria police crisis negotiator Detective Felix Diaz, “Do your job as a cop if I come outside with guns” before hanging up. Quezada’s brother-in-law also called 9-1-1 to report he’d received a goodbye call from Quezada.
Police officers, some riding in a Peacemaker armored vehicle, “devised a plan to use less lethal force to subdue the suspect,” who had come out of his home with a rifle and handgun, according to the DA’s report. The plan was to hit Quezada with a less lethal 40mm bullet and release a K-9, but the first shot — fired by detective Totorica — missed and the K-9’s handler determined there were too many people nearby to safely deploy his animal, stated the report.
“Quezada turned towards the officers near the Peacekeeper, took a step towards them and raised his rifle, pointing it at them,” according to the report. His action prompted officer Easter and detective Totorica to fire their AR-15 rifles, killing Quezada. As medics attended to Quezada — later pronounced dead at Marian Medical Center — police discovered Quezada’s victim, Tereza Meza, without a pulse inside the home.
“Detective Totorica and Officer Easter both believed that Quezada was going to kill them or one of their partners. At that moment, Detective Totorica and Officer Easter fired their AR-15 rifles at Quezada, striking him and causing him to fall to the ground. As soon as Quezada fell to the ground, both officers stopped firing,” said Dudley in the report. Due to “reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury,” Dudley concluded, “the shooting of Jesus Gomez Quezada is a justifiable homicide.”