Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 32
DA's office finds Lompoc police shooting justified
BY JEREMY THOMAS
On Oct. 10, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office determined Lompoc police were justified in using deadly force against Vietnam veteran Lawrence Kitchen.
According to the DA’s report, Kitchen, 67, got into a disagreement on June 4 over parking at his apartment complex on I Street in Lompoc. Armed with a shotgun and handgun, Kitchen shot and injured two people and killed a small dog.
After one of the victims called 911, Lompoc police officers Dan Sessions and Willie Francis arrived on the scene and ordered Kitchen to drop his weapons. When he refused to comply and pointed a gun at the officers, the report states, they shot Kitchen twice, killing him instantly. The DA’s office ruled the officers, fearing for their safety, had acted in self-defense, and concluded the fatal shooting was lawful.
According to the report, Kitchen and victim Michelle Velasquez had a confrontation over noise and parking in the driveway of the apartment complex. After several threats, Kitchen appeared on his porch with a shotgun and fired at Velasquez, who sustained injuries to her hand and chest. A dog she was holding was also shot and killed. Velasquez then ran into an apartment, and Kitchen fired his shotgun multiple times into the residence. One man inside the apartment, Eusebio Ruiz, received gunshot injuries to his thigh and torso. A third man, Arthur Chavez, injured himself trying to climb out of the apartment window to avoid gunfire. Velasquez and Ruiz were taken to Lompoc Valley Hospital, where they were treated and released.
The report indicates Kitchen, a retired Vietnam War veteran, had undergone treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had recently been prescribed a new medication.