eview of shooting leads to Barstow man’s second arrest
BARSTOW • A part-time law professor has been charged with voluntary manslaughter after his second arrest in the July shooting death of a Marine, District Attorney’s officials said.
San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Shannon Faherty said that the case had attracted attention because of the high local profile of the suspect, 50-year-old Issa Wajeel, who is a part-time law professor at Barstow Community College.
“(Wajeel) is certainly someone who is well-respected in the community,” Faherty said, adding that while there was “not particularly new evidence,” her office saw the evidence “in a new light” after working closely to review the case with the Barstow Police Department.
Wajeel was arrested Friday by officers at his home on Barcelona Court; he posted bail in the amount of $125,000 about two hours later, authorities said. His arraignment is scheduled for January, officials said.
Sgt. Andrew Espinoza Sr. said that after “thorough discussions” the prosecutor’s office and police concluded that they possessed sufficient evidence to pursue a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Espinoza and Faherty declined further comment on the evidence.
Wajeel was originally arrested as a murder suspect in the July 3 shooting death of Michael Firkins, 20, a Camp Pendleton Marine. Firkins suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head and was found by police in his truck, parked in front of Wajeel’s house.
Barstow Police detectives reported finding Wajeel in his front yard with a gun. Wajeel told police that he shot a man he believed had been trying to break into his home, authorities said.
Later that month, Barstow Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Fermin chose not to pursue murder charges against Wajeel, saying that Wajeel shot Firkins in self-defense.
“We base (prosecution) on the facts of the law, the facts of what happened and the law that applies in that situation,” Fermin said in July. “... Sometimes that decision-making process may not be a popular one, but it’s one we believe to be right under the eye of the law and the facts that are available.”
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