Schmutz, Council Address Officer Involved Shooting

Rancho Santa Margarita's chief of police services clarifies a couple of issues and asks residents to be patient with the investigation. Mayor calls for transparency.

At the request of the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, on Wednesday Lt. Brian Schmutz of the Orange County Sheriff's Dept., gave an update on the officer involved shooting that took place over the weekend.

At the foundation of Schmutz's comments was the request for people to exercise patience and allow the Orange County District Attorney's investigation to take place at a pace that ensures accuracy. But also revealed were a couple of nuggets of new information about the Saturday shooting at 12:57 p.m., the first officer involved shooting in the city's history.

Schmutz clarified that Dennis Mitchell Mueller, 20, had ignored "several requests" to not move and instead advanced on the officer—who has not yet been identified. He also clarified that Mueller's actions were corroborated by several independent witnesses.

Check the video to hear Schmutz, the chief of police services, explain what happened and address issues about the investigation.

Check the other video to hear city council members comment about the shooting; particularly interesting are comments by Steve Baric, who previously worked in the district attorney's office, and Jerry Holloway, a retired policeman.

The item was agendized by Mayor Tony Beall, who wanted to bring attention to his—and the city's—commitment to get answers.

"The underlying goal is to maintain and enhance the credibility and trust with the community both for the city and the police department," Beall said.

"In Rancho Santa Margarita, we always carry out the people's business with openness, honesty and transparency, and I want to personally and publicly reaffirm my commitment to doing so in this instance."

Chris McLaughlin March 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Here's the Police Blotter from the OCSD website, up to where the shooting started: [3/10/2012 12:42:08 : pos4 : JFRY] NBH: 893B2 92688 33.64662,-117.590175 NBH: 893B2 92688 33.64662,-117.590175 79993 ALMA ALDEA NO PLT LOST SITE BLK HELMUT MONSTER SITCKER ON THE REAR [3/10/2012 12:43:11 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 LIVE OFF [3/10/2012 12:44:14 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 FTY SPEED [3/10/2012 12:47:57 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 [3/10/2012 12:52:12 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 RED LITES C5 NOW [3/10/2012 12:57:14 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 BIKE 10-97 [3/10/2012 12:57:34 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 1 GPT RUNNING [3/10/2012 12:57:49 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 SHOTS FIRED SUBJ DOWN
Chris McLaughlin March 19, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Then a few minutes later it's listed that the suspect had 'walked away then turned and placed hand in pocket', so I guess I was right and that the reason for shooting him would have been one of the first things the Officer would have told anyone, so that shouldn't have been a mystery when this story first broke: [3/10/2012 12:58:06 : pos9 : MOGUELC] CO FIRE ENRT [3/10/2012 12:58:31 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 IFO [3/10/2012 12:59:10 : pos3 : mLOSOYA] HB1 ENR UNTIL D1 IS 10-97 [3/10/2012 12:59:32 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 ROB [3/10/2012 12:59:56 : pos15 : WEIKUMBH] OC FIRE UPDATED ON ADDRESS [3/10/2012 13:01:30 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 SUBJ WALKED AWAY THEN TURNED AND PLACED HAND IN R POCKET HB1 ENR [3/10/2012 13:03:00 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 NO K9 NEEDED [3/10/2012 13:03:32 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 169 LOWER ABD [3/10/2012 13:05:39 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 6M68 [3/10/2012 13:06:00 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 1S60 3 OUT [3/10/2012 13:06:36 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : D1 6OUT [3/10/2012 13:12:35 : pos4 : JFRY] Unit : 1S50 1 UNIT INTO CIRCLE 157 [3/10/2012 13:14:16 : pos4 : JFRY] SWITCH ORANGE 3 [3/10/2012 13:15:29 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] REG VALID FROM: 06/02/11 TO 06/02/12 LIC#:10 [3/10/2012 13:18:21 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] Unit : 1s50 make sure ID & investigation are enrte [3/10/2012 13:20:06 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] Unit : 160 97 inside the ambulance with subj [3/10/2012 13:22:18 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] Unit : 160 enrte to 902H Mission
Chris McLaughlin March 19, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Good to know that the Sheriff's Union (AOCDS) is notified and enroute before the patient even gets to the hospital: [3/10/2012 13:26:52 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 1s50 REQ TIP [3/10/2012 13:29:27 : pos1 : MOGUELC] TIP ENRT AND WILL CALL BACK WITH NAME AND VEH DESC [3/10/2012 13:31:57 : pos16 : JWILLIAMS] AOCDS NOTIFIED [3/10/2012 13:33:02 : pos16 : JWILLIAMS] AOCDS 20 MIN ETA [3/10/2012 13:39:27 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 160 97 MISSION [3/10/2012 13:39:34 : pos15 : WEIKUMBH] TIP ENRT 2 VOLUNTEERS 1ST ... VEH RED FORD MUSTANG LIC ETA 20-25 ...2ND VEH GREE 95 TOY TERCEL LIC ETA 20-25 [3/10/2012 13:39:37 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] Unit : 1A86 TRNSPORTING 160`S VEH TO MISSION [3/10/2012 13:59:21 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 160 10-1 AREA [3/10/2012 14:04:56 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 160 JUST ENTERING TRAUMA ROOM REQ ADDTL UNIT FOR EVIDENCE COLLECTION [3/10/2012 14:05:19 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 6M57 ENRT TO HOSP [3/10/2012 14:06:38 : pos1 : MOGUELC] Unit : 6M57 97 HOSP [3/10/2012 15:06:24 : pos4 : GDULYANAI] Unit : 161 ENRTE WITH COMMAND TRAILER
JP March 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Chris, Stay on this. When all the facts come out, the public won't like what they hear. Has this officer been put on leave? Do we know his name? Did he work for RSM sheriffs department? Is our city liable? This is going to cost someone millions!
Ms. Wright March 20, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Are 911 calls available? I believe waiting 2 - 3 months for information favors the police union.
Mike Proctor March 20, 2012 at 04:28 PM
and this years "Arm Chair " award goes to.............
Chris McLaughlin March 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I'm not sure there are any 911 calls to be heard. Most people don't call 911 when they see the Police are already engaged. Maybe we should start, so at least the audio of the shots are recorded and well-timestamped, like the Trayvon Martin killing. There may dashboard video camera footage from the Officer's car, if he had it running, but I'm sure the Police would supress that as long as they want to. I wish there was cell phone video from a neighbor already on YouTube. That would decrease the need for speculation and waiting for 'official' information to be released...
Chris McLaughlin March 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
It's only March, Mike, but if you're referring to me, I'll take it. As if being engaged in local civic affairs and exercising your First Amendment rights is something to be ashamed of.
Shawn Gordon March 20, 2012 at 05:24 PM
So we have the indisputable fact that the "officer" did not follow procedure by going to this guys house on his own and confronted him with his weapon drawn. We now have the indisputable fact that there were enough bystanders standing around, close enough, to supposedly substantiate the claim that he reached in to his jacket, and then the LEO opens fire, 7 times, with these people standing close by, and is such a bad shot he can't even manage to kill him. Policy is, that if you think they are drawing a weapon on you, you shoot to kill if you are going to shoot at all, they don't shoot to wound. This entire episode is because the LEO did NOT follow policy, period, nothing else matters because the situation wouldn't have arisen had he followed policy. I still want to see the footage from the camera he is supposed to have running. I just hope it is only the Sherrifs that get sued and not our fine city.
vince March 20, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I'm most interested in the explanation behind the multiple shots fired, as well as the long pauses that were reported in between shots fired. I think one shot can be explained away with the whole "reaching" into his waistband story, but why the 40 second pause and another shot, then a 20 sec. pause and a flurry of shots? I think the public needs total transparency regarding this incident. The sooner the better.
chris March 31, 2012 at 04:34 AM
what fine city would hire thes trigger happy gansters to protect us citizens and allow them to shoot to kill for a minor traffic violation when the suspect was not even armed. Wouldn't the appropriate way to handle it be to ask him to put his hands where they can see them as opposed to just shooting someone seven times then checking to see that he had no weapon? does anyone else think 7 times is ridiculously excessive?
Chris McLaughlin March 31, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Hi Chris, How do you know there were 7 shots fired? I'm not disputing it, but the official number hasn't been released at all, so you must know an eye/ear-witness or have heard them yourself. 7 shots is a lot to shoot to kill someone and not actually kill them. I bet he wasn't actually trying to kill him. Maybe some were warning shots/intentional misses once things got out of hand, but the officer probablyknew it wasn't going to be justified to actually shoot him dead. (Just speculating here at this point, the kind of speculating that wouldn't have to happen if the official findings would be released quicker, or at least some concrete facts like the number of shots fired, once that is determined.)
vince March 31, 2012 at 02:16 PM
At least seven shots, ( I was told directly by an eye witness) and LEO's are trained center mass when they shoot. They NEVER shoot to wound someone or fire warning shots, but always center mass. So the LEO was just a bad shot, and that's the only positive thing about this whole unfortunate incident.


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