Calif. Man Killed By Police In Mistaken Identity

By: AP
By: AP

A newlywed killed by police after he stepped outside his home to confront suspected burglars was shot in a case of mistaken identity, police said.

Julian Alexander died after being shot twice in the chest by a police officer who was chasing four burglary suspects early Tuesday morning.

Police Chief John Welter said the officer ran into Alexander, mistook him for one of the four juvenile suspects and shot him.

"The last thing we ever want to do, No. 1, (is) take somebody's life," he said. "And we certainly don't want to take the life of someone who is mistakenly believed to be involved in some criminal activity."

"He was a good kid, trying to protect his house," said Alexander's mother-in-law Michelle Mooney. "And the police, instead of asking questions, they just shot first. Somebody has to be held responsible for this."

Welter would not release the officer's name, but said he was a 10-year veteran of the department. The officer was placed on paid leave pending an investigation.

"It's mistaken identity, but that doesn't bring my son back," said Alexander's father Jerry.

He said Alexander got married last weekend and his 19-year-old wife is expecting a baby in December.

Alexander's wife said she heard the gunshots and tried to go into the yard, but the officer told her to stay inside. From the window they saw Alexander handcuffed and bleeding in the front yard.

Paramedics treated him at the scene and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The four burglary suspects were detained and interviewed, but no arrests were made.

Welter said investigators would interview the officer to determine what commands he gave to Alexander before he fired. Investigations will be conducted by the FBI, the Orange County Office of Independent Review and the district attorney's office, Welter said.

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