Yesterday, December 13, 2012, at approximately 2:10 pm., a State Park Ranger and CSLEA member was required to use lethal force in self defense against a subject armed with a machete like knife. The incident occurred at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
The ranger, an 8-year veteran peace officer encountered a subject illegally camping on the reserve who was possibly involved in an earlier report of a naked individual running through the park. After speaking with the subject for a brief time and a backup ranger arrived on scene, the subject quickly went inside his tent and emerged with the weapon. When the subject advanced in a threatening manner toward the officers, the lead ranger fired a single round striking the subject in the torso. The subject was then transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
CSLEA Legal Defense Fund Administrator Kasey Clark received a request for assistance at approximately 3:00 p.m. He immediately contacted Michael Baranic of Gattey & Baranic, one of CSLEA LDF 's panel law firms and well versed in handling critical incidents such as officer-involved shootings. Once Mr. Baranic was provided a summary of the details which gave rise to the shooting and its location, he agreed to immediately respond to the scene to provide representation. He likely arrived within 30-45 minutes of the initial call to CSLEA.
Later yesterday evening, Mr. Baranic reported that the investigation went well and that the officers involved clearly acted appropriately given the circumstances with which they were confronted.
"I was a panel attorney for PORAC's Legal Defense Fund for more than thirteen (13) years and responded to dozens of officer-involved shootings and other critical incidents during that time" related Mr. Clark. "Although 98% of such shootings do not result in criminal prosecution, they can be very hard on the officers who have had to use deadly or potentially deadly force. I can speak from experience that the involved officers truly appreciate having an experienced attorney to timely respond and walk them through the investigative process. These officers really want to be reassured from someone who knows that everything is going to be okay."