ESCONDIDO — Family members have filed a lawsuit against the city over the fatal shooting of their relative Pedro Campos Martinez by two Escondido police officers on May 4.
The claim was filed on Oct. 31 in the San Diego Superior Court.On May 4, Campos called 911 seeking assistance at about 10:45 p.m., according to the claim. Escondido Police Department officers responded to call at about 10:52 p.m., locating the 29-year-old on Trovita Court.
Press releases issued on May 5 and May 8 by the Escondido Police Department stated that when officers approached Campos he was armed with a knife. Campos allegedly held the knife against his stomach and ignored orders to drop the weapon.
Officers attempted to taser Campos, but were unsuccessful. Campos then reportedly raised his knife and rushed towards a police officer.
Escondido Police officers Marco Fuentes and Leonard Hand fired five shots at Campos, hitting him four times, according to the claim.
Campos was transported to Palomar Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:31 p.m.
The website, Escondido City Council Accountability Reports, published the medical examiner’s report of Campos’s death. Victor Torres, the Campos family’s attorney, verified that the report is accurate.
According to the report, at least three of the shots that hit Campos entered from the back of his body and traveled to the front.
The claim stated that this information contradicted statements from the Escondido police.
Less than 10 minutes passed from the time police contacted Campos to the time he was shot, the claim alleges.
The report did state that traces of methamphetamine and amphetamine were found in Campos’s blood at the time of his death.
Police found a suicide note written in Spanish in Campos’s pocket, according to the report. The note reportedly stated that Campos was upset about a relationship with a girl and that he wanted to commit suicide with police involvement.
The police department press releases stated that a note was recovered from Campos’s pocket that read in part, “Today is the last day I live.” Text messages on his phone also indicated that he was contemplating suicide.
Another suicide note was found in Campos’s wallet.
The claim asserts that police should have requested the presence of the department’s PERT (Psychiatric Emergency Response Team) to the scene.
The family is seeking $3 million in damages from the city.
The Campos family is currently waiting for the city to respond to the claim, according to Torres.
Campos, a Mexican citizen, was living with friends and working for an acquaintance at the time of his death, according to Torres.
Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. They have since returned to active duty, according to Escondido Police Department spokesperson Lt. Neal Griffin.
Fuentes has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years, and Hand has worked in law enforcement for two years.
Griffin said the incident is still under investigation by the police department and the city.