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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) — A California Highway Patrol officer who shot and killed a homeless man who fired a gun at him was justified in using lethal force, the Orange County district attorney's office said Friday.
Armando Sabat, 71, was shot several times during an October 2020 confrontation in Los Alamitos.
The DA’s office outlined its investigation of the shooting in a December letter to CHP Commissioner Amanda L. Ray.
According to the letter, Sabat had refused requests by a state transportation worker to leave his makeshift tent in an onramp area of Interstate 605.
The CHP was contacted and two officers arrived. When one looked into the tent he saw Sabat with a revolver and reached for the gun, according to the DA's letter.
Sabat shot him in the face, the letter said. The officer felt stinging on the left side of his face and couldn't see out of one eye. Believing he had been shot, he fired back.
Sabat was later found dead at the scene.
The gun was found to be an 1860-style Army revolver loaded with black powder and lead balls, although the officer wasn't hit with a bullet but what appeared to be mud and possibly grease from the gun, the DA's office said.
The officer was justified in using lethal force and “believed that if he hadn’t returned fire, he would have been killed or seriously injured,” the letter said.
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