Two Felony Charges for Sheriff’s Deputy in Shooting Death of David Ordaz

The fatal shooting took place in East L.A. last year and resulted in a federal lawsuit and an ongoing internal investigation

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Remin Pineda has been charged in the fatal shooting of David Ordaz Jr., 34, in East Los Angeles last year, the L.A. District Attorney’s Office announced in a press release Thursday.

The deputy, Remin Pineda, has been charged with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and assault under color of authority in the shooting death, which took place in full view of Ordaz’s family.

An arraignment date was not immediately set.

Ordaz was allegedly shot in the back on March 14, 2021 while lying on the ground, posing no threat to deputies who responded to the scene. Family said Ordaz was in the midst of a mental health crisis at the time. While Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he had “grave concerns” about the circumstances of the shooting last year, Ordaz’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the sheriff’s department. 

“Unlawful and excessive force at the hands of police erodes the public trust and leads to further divisions between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” District Attorney George Gascón said in Thursday’s statement. “It is imperative that we hold law enforcement accountable when they act unlawfully. This tragic killing of Mr. Ordaz in the presence of his own family has caused tremendous harm that will reverberate for years to come.”

Deputies went to the family’s home in East Los Angeles in response to a call from Ordaz’s relatives, who reported that he was suicidal and had a knife, authorities said. Prosecutors said deputies initially fired bean-bag rounds at Ordaz, a father of three, when he walked toward them while holding the knife. Ordaz allegedly continued to advance on deputies with the knife, drawing gunfire from multiple deputies, authorities said. Prosecutors allege that while Ordaz was on the ground and had dropped the knife, Pineda continued firing his weapon at him.

Video of the shooting was posted on YouTube and the sheriff’s department also later released body-camera footage from the shooting scene. Pineda was relieved of his duties following an investigation submitted to the D.A.’s Justice System Integrity Division. In a statement released by the LASD, the office extended its condolences to the Ordaz family, noting Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s ongoing commitment “to transparency and accountability. The Sheriff remains dedicated to promoting actions by employees demonstrating a reverence for life.” 

The Ordaz family’s federal lawsuit contends deputies used excessive force. “In fact, the coroners report shows that all of the bullets except two, struck him on the back and on the side and the final bullet as visualized in the video shows a helpless David Ordaz Jr. looking up from the pavement without any weapon, and the killing shot was fired into his chest,” the lawsuit alleges.

Body-worn camera footage indicates that at least 10 rounds were fired, including a single shot fired immediately after the flurry of gunfire had stopped and Ordaz was lying face up on the sidewalk, holding his shoulder.

According to the Los Angeles TimesOrdaz had previous run-ins with law enforcement while suffering similar crises and had to be subdued by deputies at the home in both 2006 and 2007.

City New Service contributed to this report.

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