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State attorney general asked to investigate Lompoc police shooting of transgender male

State attorney general asked to investigate Lompoc police shooting of transgender male

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041721 krys ruiz

A memorial for 26-year-old Krys Ruiz is located near the intersection of North H Street and Walnut Avenue in Lompoc. Ruiz died in an officer-involved shooting following an altercation with Lompoc Police officers on March 28. 

An attorney is calling for the California attorney general to investigate the March 28 officer-involved shooting of a Lompoc transgender male because of officials' alleged conflicts of interest in a letter sent to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Office and the Lompoc Police Department.

Krys Brandon Ruiz, 26, died from a fatal gunshot wound following an altercation with Lompoc Police officers minutes after they received a report of a person walking northbound on H Street with a handgun shortly after 8 p.m., according to Capt. Kevin Martin.

The case was turned over to the office of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who was the Lompoc police chief from 1995 to 2006 before becoming sheriff. 

Bill Schmidt, a Fresno-based attorney representing Ruiz's family, cited as a foundation for the request government code 12525.3, which deals with police shootings of unarmed people, and AB 1506, a law approved by the governor on Sept. 30, 2020, that requires a state prosecutor to investigate when police use deadly force. 

"Bill Brown oversaw the recruitment and training of that city's police officers," Schmidt wrote in the April 7 letter addressed to the Sheriff's Office and the Attorney General's Office. "Sheriff Brown is not only the county's top law enforcement officer, he is also the coroner, charged with determining the manner and cause of death in this and similar cases." 

Additionally, Schmidt said the attorney general should investigate because District Attorney Joyce Dudley helped develop statewide deadly force training and has never prosecuted an officer involved in a deadly shooting. 

Dudley confirmed receipt of Schmidt's letter on Friday but did not offer comment and referred to the Sheriff's Office, which responded to an emailed inquiry but did not provide comment. 

Neither the Lompoc Police Department nor the Attorney General's Office responded to requests for comment on Friday. 

An hour before the shooting, Ruiz was dropped off at his apartment by his mother after dinner, blocks away from the shooting location, according to Schmidt, adding Ruiz wasn't intoxicated or agitated. 

"We don’t know what happened, whether they were trying to take him into custody for some reason, but we believe that it was virtually impossible that he had a gun, as far as we know," Schmidt said. "The reality is that the police control all of the evidence and all of the information." 

Schmidt believes the shooting involved poor training standards, although he added that has yet to be seen. He filed a records request Thursday with Lompoc Police to release information about the incident, including all video recordings. 

Series: Lompoc City Council

Read this collection of stories on Lompoc City Council from the past year. Read all of our coverage of local government in Vandenberg Village and the Lompoc Valley on LompocRecord.com.

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