No Charges To Be Filed Against Deputy Who Fatally Shot Half Moon Bay Teen

SAN MATEO COUNTY (KRON) — San Mateo County district attorney announced on Monday that he would not file charges against a sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a knife-wielding Half Moon Bay teen.

In a letter to Sheriff Greg Munks today, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he had concluded that deputy Menh Trieu use of force against the teen was legally justified and may have saved his own life, if not the lives of other officers arriving on scene.

At around 9:20 p.m. on June 3, Trieu was responding to calls that a teen was acting violently toward their parents, Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Rebecca Rosenblatt previously told KRON 4. “Shortly thereafter there was a confrontation where the deputy was in fear for his life and as a result he fired his weapon.”

According to Wagstaffe, Trieu shot Yanira Serrano-Garcia, 18, as she charged toward him with a knife outside of the Moonridge housing complex on Miramontes Point Road.

Trieu retreated as Serrano-Garcia came toward him and repeatedly told her to drop her weapon but she continued running toward him with the knife poised, ready to strike, Wagstaffe said.

Trieu was in fear for his life and shot the teen once, striking her in the chest, according to the district attorney.

The deputy immediately called for medics to render aid to the teen but she died within minutes.

Wagstaffe said that while Serrano-Garcia’s death was tragic, “Deputy Trieu’s decision to protect himself and others against great bodily injury or death was preceded by the exercise of restraint on his part, and repeated commands for Yanira Serrano-Garcia to stop her attack.”

Serrano’s family tells a different story. They say the woman who was shot has special needs and was refusing to take her medication so the family members called 911 hoping paramedics would show up instead of armed law officers.

Investigators later confirmed that Serrano-Garcia suffered from schizophrenia and that her “four-year history with mental illness is well-documented,” the district attorney wrote.

“She has special needs and we just want answers,” the woman’s brother, Tiny Serrano says. “Who are we supposed to call now when we need help when who is supposed to help us is killing our kids?”

In his own statement today, Munks called the deadly shooting a “truly tragic occurrence.”

“Each day the men and women of the sheriff’s office put on their uniforms, they do so knowing that they may find themselves in harm’s way. The deputy involved is still dealing with the gravity of the incident,” he said.

Munks said his office’s investigation also showed Trieu followed official policies and procedures when he shot Serrano-Garcia.

He said his office is planning a community meeting to discuss the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.

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(Copyright 2014, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)

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