Newly Released Internal Report Details La Mesa Police Deadly Standoff In 2017
Internal police records from the La Mesa Police Department detail a 2017 standoff when two officers shot and killed an armed 19-year-old man who had fired shots into the air.
The records describe what began as an attempt to pull over a car with Isaias Raziel Ochoa-Batista and two other people on August 24, 2017. The car didn't stop and instead sped away.
When the car reached a dead end, all three people inside ran away, and Ochoa-Batista hid behind a cement wall at the top of a drainage ditch. Police officers released a K-9 dog, which bit Ochoa-Batista in the leg, according to police statements details in the records.
Ochoa-Batista then shot his gun into the sky and two La Mesa police officers shot him. Ochoa-Batista fell backward, but then sat up and pointed his gun at the officers, according to their statements. The officers shot Ochoa-Batista again and he died.
Six total law enforcement officers were involved in the incident: three La Mesa police officers and one La Mesa police sergeant, one San Diego police officer with the K-9 dog, and a San Diego sheriff's sergeant.
La Mesa police officers Taylor Persitza and Jonathan Seydel were the ones who fired the shots. Both had less than two years' experience in the department.
Neither Persitza nor Seydel were charged and an internal La Mesa Police Department review found they were justified in shooting Ochoa-Batista.
"Both officers feared for their lives and feared for the safety of other officers on the scene," the report said. "They both fired their weapons to protect themselves and other officers."
These were released under a new state law, SB 1421, that says law enforcement agencies must make public internal reports about officers investigated for police shootings and use of force, and who were found to have committed sexual assault or lied during the course of an investigation.
Cities across the region have begun to release some records under the law, but there are still more to come. Local police departments say it takes time to review and redact the records before they are made public.