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Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Who Fatally Shot Suicidal Man Charged with Two Felonies on His Birthday

body camera footage of a deputy pointing a gun at a man

David Ordaz (center) was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on March 14, 2021. (screenshot from KNBC Los Angeles)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with two felonies for shooting a man last year after he’d already been shot to the ground and was no longer armed.

Deputy Remin Pineda, whose 38th birthday is today, is to be arraigned later on one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and assault under color of authority, according to the the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

He’s accused of needlessly shooting David Ordaz Jr., 34, after Ordaz had fallen to the ground after being shot by deputies outside a home in east Los Angeles on March 14, 2021. They’d gone there after Ordaz’s sister called authorities to say her brother was suicidal and armed with a knife.

Deputies spoke with Ordaz outside the home, and two fired beanbag rounds at him as he stepped toward them with a knife. He then ran toward them and was shot by deputies multiple times.

At that point, Ordaz had fallen to the ground and dropped the knife, laying with his back facing deputies. But body camera footage release by the sheriff’s department shows a deputy, apparently Pineda, continue to fire on Ordaz as he’s on the ground. That’s what led to the criminal charges filed Wednesday, District Attorney George Gascón announced today.

“Unlawful and excessive force at the hands of police erodes the public trust and leads to further divisions between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Gascón said in a press release. “It is imperative that we hold law enforcement accountable when they act unlawfully. This tragic killing of Mr. Ordaz in the presence of his own family has caused tremendous harm that will reverberate for years to come.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva questioned the lawfulness of the shooting when he released video footage of it last summer.

“I want to clearly state I have grave concerns regarding this deputy involved shooting. One of the deputies has been relieved of duty and their peace officer powers have been suspended, pending the outcome of this investigation,” according to the July 30, 2021, statement.

That deputy was Pineda, and the sheriff’s department said today he “will continue to be relieved of his peace officer powers pending he outcome of the court proceedings.”

“The Sheriff remains committed to promoting actions by employees demonstrating a reverence for life, while providing for the safety of the communities we serve,” according to the statement. “Our condolences to Mr. Ordaz’s family for their loss.”

Ordaz’s family called the announce “a huge win” in a post on the Instagram page @justicefordavidordazjr. They are suing the deputies and the sheriff’s department in U.S. District Court. The case is being mediated by retired U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford, according to minutes from a recent status conference.


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(Image: screenshot from KNBC Los Angeles)

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.