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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."

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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