Pedro Villanueva

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Pedro Erik Villanueva was a 19 year old resident of Canoga Park, Los Angeles. Pedro worked at Villanueva Mexican Grill. attended Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles, California. He was originally from La Juanilla, Sinaloa, Mexico . [3]

Death

On July 3, 2016 Pedro Erik Villanueva was fatally shot by undercover California Highway Patrol officer, while fleeing a sideshow motoring event. [2]

Pedro was attending a sideshow event with an 18 year old friend in his red regular cab Chevrolet Silverado. During the event truck drivers were performing dangerous burnouts and other stunts. [3]

The California Highway Patrol street racing task force was conducting an undercover operation with multiple officers. The officers tried to pull over Pedro, he fled, driving at speeds over 90 mph. [4]

After the undercover officers chased Pedro he entered a residential area in Fullerton, California. The officers then fired multiple shots into the truck killing Pedro and wounding his friend. [3]

Pedro's friend was hit by one bullet and was taken to a nearby hospital. He is not facing any charges from the incident. [3]

Maxwell Zarifian, who also played soccer with Villanueva in high school, remembered him as a polite teammate who often stayed late to aid other players on the practice pitch. [2]

Zarifian, who said he could not believe Villanueva would ever intentionally attack a police officer. He said, “Pedro wouldn't have charged at police with his truck if he knew that they were police,” he said. “What was he supposed to do if he didn't know what was going on?” [2]

Controversy

Many are criticizing the decision of the California Highway Patrol, to fire shots at a moving vehicle. [2]

The practice is seen as dangerous and has been banned by police departments including the NYPD and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), San Francisco Police Department, Denver Police Department, and the Chicago Police Department. [2]

Law enforcement experts say that many agencies ban officers from shooting at moving cars, even if drivers appear to be attempting to ram them because police service weapons are unlikely to stop a speeding vehicle. Also firing a barrage of rounds might only serve to increase the danger faced by officers and bystanders if the driver is shot and unable to control the car. [2]

The U.S Department of Justice has also advised police departments not to shoot at moving vehicles, even when a suspect is driving toward an officer. [2]

“First, it is difficult to shoot at a moving car with accuracy. Missed shots can hit bystanders or others in the vehicle. Second, if the driver is disabled by the shot, the vehicle may become unguided, making it potentially more dangerous.” [2]

Others have criticized the decision by California Highway Patrol to chase Pedro in an unmarked police car as it may have been hard for him to tell that it was a legitimate police car rather than a robber. [2]

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