S.B. County deputies won't be charged in fatal shooting

Two San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies will not be charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a man who led them on a high-speed chase in a stolen car, then tried to escape a barricade, prosecutors said Thursday.

Deputies Jess Duran and Jason Hendrix were on patrol with the San Bernardino Police Department's Operation Phoenix crime-suppression plan Nov. 8 when they spotted a stolen 1994 Acura at a gas station.

After trailing the driver to a nearby Stater Bros. parking lot, they attempted to arrest him, according to a report by San Bernardino County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vic Stull. But the man, later identified as 44-year-old Anthony Arteaga, hesitated to throw the keys outside as ordered. Instead he revved the car's engine to speed away, Stull's report said.

For a few minutes, the deputies followed the Acura as it ran traffic lights and stop signs and drove the wrong way on city streets. It entered Interstate 215 south and reached speeds of 140 mph before being forced into a spinout by pursuing officers, the report said.

When the Acura stopped, it was side by side with the sheriff's patrol car, and Arteaga was "shoulder to shoulder" with Hendrix, Stull wrote. With his hands hidden from the deputies' view, the suspect spun the tires and began to back up, Stull wrote.

When Duran saw Arteaga appear to "fumble for something," he fired four shots, Stull wrote.

Hendrix heard the pops, felt shards of glass breaking on his face and thought he was being shot at, the report states. Hendrix then fired his handgun three or four times.

Arteaga had been shot in the chest, neck and head.

An autopsy showed heroin and methamphetamine in his system, the report said.

The deputies had reasonable fear when Arteaga appeared to be reaching under the car seat while the car's wheels spun, Stull wrote


Police brutality charges leveled at council meeting

SAN BERNARDINO - A throng of angry residents and a distraught mother used Monday's City Council meeting as their megaphone to accuse police of brutality in breaking up a candlelight vigil the night before.

On Sunday night, community members said, more than a dozen police busted up a peaceful curbside service for Charles Marshall, 22, who was gunned down in a Westside apartment complex during the early morning hours of Saturday.

"It was a peaceful vigil," said Deiedra Marshall, the dead man's sister.

"The police came looking for trouble, they barged in people's houses, took people away, and were knocking down anybody who asked questions," Marshall said.

According to numerous speakers, including the dead man's mother, police parked their cars on an adjacent block before marching into the 1800 block of Bradley Court and using fists, nightsticks and pepper spray before hauling five or six people off to jail. One of the detained, said Marshall's mother, Judy Little, was the dead man's 16-year-old brother.

Other witnesses painted a generally consistent picture: 50 to 60 people gathered on the street in the predominately black neighborhood. Music was playing and candles marked where Marshall
was killed. Police arrived, and tensions quickly escalated.

Police Chief Michael Billdt said an investigation into the incident would be conducted, and that he could not comment further because it was a personnel matter.

Council members listened as residents spoke in often impassioned, angry tones. They had differing reactions.

"There were a lot of allegations made," said Councilman Neil Derry after the meeting. "I don't know that any of them are true or false."

Councilman Rikke Van Johnson, whose 6th Ward encompasses the Westside enclave where the incident took place, said he was troubled by the testimony.

"You had a lot of people telling the same story," Johnson said after the meeting.

Residents were unanimous in lauding Marshall's character Monday. They said he was killed in a case of mistaken identity in front of his apartment. Moments before he was shot about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, other shots rang out in the neighborhood and Marshall took his young daughter inside to safety.

"He wasn't involved in gangs or drugs, he was just a peaceful boy," said his aunt Trina Newman.

After the meeting, Mayor Pat Morris approached Little and embraced her.

Morris told the grieving mother he was praying for her and that a thorough investigation into Sunday's incident would be conducted. Morris also told Little she was "courageous" for coming to the meeting and speaking.

"I'm deeply distressed by the reports you made today," Morris told Little before hugging her.

San Bernardino residents accuse officers of unprovoked attack

A gathering to mourn a San Bernardino man's death dissolved into a police melee Sunday evening, witnesses told the City Council on Monday.

Trina Newman, of Los Angeles, said the officers used foul language, punched and shoved bystanders, and used pepper spray indiscriminately.

About 25 residents of the Westside neighborhood where the clash occurred attended Monday's City Council meeting to describe what they called an unprovoked attack.

"We're not animals!" neighborhood resident Tommy Nelson Jr. told council members. "How would you guys feel if the police came when you were mourning a death? How would you feel?"

Police Chief Mike Billdt said police are investigating. Calling the case a confidential personnel matter, he declined to comment further.

Mayor Pat Morris said he was "deeply distressed" by neighborhood residents' reports.

Naenae McKenzie said the incident started about 7 p.m. Sunday, as 40 to 60 people were gathering for a candlelight vigil in memory of Charles Lawrence Marshall. Marshall, 22, was shot to death in the 1800 block of West Bradley Court shortly after midnight Saturday.

Nelson said he watched two phalanxes of police officers, with about 10 officers in each squad, stride toward the mourners and start to pick people out of the crowd.

"They were just snatching people up, with no questions, no nothing," he said.

He said he saw one officer speak briefly to a neighbor, McKenzie, then strike her in the face with his fist.

"He hit her twice like that: Bam! Bam! Just like she was a man," he said.

McKenzie confirmed the incident.

After the council meeting, Morris sought out Judith Little, Marshall's mother. Two of her sons were arrested Sunday.

"I'm deeply distressed by the reports that were made today by your neighbors and friends," Morris said.

"That was courageous and important, because these events are now well documented, and there will be a thorough investigation."

Reach Chris Richard at 909-806-3076 or crichard@PE.com