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The attorney for an off-duty officer who shot and killed a man inside a Southern California Costco last week claims his client was attacked without warning as he held his toddler son.
Attorney David Winslow said Monday that his client - a Los Angeles Police Department officer whom he wouldn't name - was struck from behind without a word being spoken Friday night as he fed his son samples of teriyaki chicken in the warehouse store in Corona, southeast of Los Angeles.
Winslow - Officer - Briefly - Son - Ground
Winslow said the officer was briefly knocked unconscious and his 1 ½-year-old son also fell to the ground.
When the officer regained consciousness, Winslow said, 'he believed his life and his son's life was in immediate danger.'
Attack - Winslow - Started
'He believed he was under attack,' Winslow said. 'That's when the shooting started.'
But a cousin of Kenneth French, the man who was killed, described him as a 'gentle giant' who didn't speak because of a mental condition and said he had never been violent in the past. His family says he had an intellectual disability that meant his mental capacity was that of a teenager.
Officer - Shot - Riverside - French - Parents
The officer shot and killed French, 32, of Riverside, and critically wounded French's parents.
A Corona police spokesman said during a news conference shortly after the shooting that witnesses had reported hearing an argument. A statement from the department the following day, however, did not mention a verbal altercation and said the attack was 'without provocation'.
Rick - Shureih - French - Cousin - LA
Rick Shureih, French's cousin, told the LA Times: 'He was a gentle giant.'
Shureih also told the Press-Enterprise in Riverside that he didn't speak because of a mental condition that started in adulthood. He did not provide details on the condition, but he said French had 'to be pretty much monitored' and his cousin's parents, Russell and Paola French, accompanied him everywhere.
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