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DA’s Office Clears Two San Diego Officers In Fatal College-Area Shooting

Police and firefighters, pictured in this screenshot from police body-worn ca...

Credit: San Diego County District Attorney's Office

Above: Police and firefighters, pictured in this screenshot from police body-worn camera footage released on May 13, 2019, open the door to Joseph Darwish's apartment shortly before he opened fire on them, wounding two officers, on June 23, 2018.

The District Attorney's office released its review Monday clearing two San Diego police officers who fired on a gunman who shot and wounded two officers, and was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot in a College-area apartment.

A letter sent to San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit by the District Attorney's Office says officers Shawn Boggeman and Francisco Roman "were justified in using deadly force to defend against (Joseph) Darwish's attempts to kill them."

Police went to the 28-year-old suspect's apartment around 10:15 p.m. on June 23, 2018, after a neighbor called to report that "Darwish was walking back and forth in the condominium hallway, cursing, yelling, and slamming doors as he yelled at a female," according to the DA's letter.

Firefighters were also called because of smoke coming from Darwish's unit, and upon breaching the front door, he opened fire, striking an officer in the back, according to the summation. That officer is not named in the letter, but the police department identified him last year as 18-year-veteran Dan Bihum.

Boggeman and Roman then opened fire, with Roman being shot in the chin, neck and left shoulder. The officers fired around 40 rounds during the shootout, according to the letter, which says Darwish fired at least 22 shots at the officers.

Darwish was later found dead inside the unit from a self-inflicted gunshot, though he was also struck in the arm and face from Boggeman's shotgun fire. He was wearing a ballistic vest and was armed with an assault weapon and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, neither of which was registered, according to the D.A.'s office

The letter states that prior to the shootout, police and fire personnel knocked on Darwish's door for around 20 minutes, with no answer, and breached the doorway "to check the welfare of the occupants and to determine whether the smoke was a danger to the residents of the complex." Boggeman told investigators that officers knocked on the door "about 30 times."

"This harrowing incident shows just how quickly a routine call for service can turn deadly for police officers who suddenly found themselves in the line of fire, trying to protect their wounded fellow officers and keep the shooter from endangering members of the public," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "It's a tribute to these officers' bravery and quick response that the gunman didn't injure more people or kill the officers and firefighters involved."


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