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Family of man killed in officer-involved shooting files lawsuit

Location: Shadow Palm Apartments on Shadow Palm Ave. and Monroe Street.

Deputies investigate officer-involved shooting

INDIO, Calif. - Update: The family of an 18-year-old man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in October has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Indio.

Samuel Villarreal was shot and killed by an Indio police officer after a slow-speed car chase ended at the Shadow Palms Apartments on Shadow Palm Avenue and Monroe Street on October 14. Officers said that Villarreal rammed a stolen car into a patrol car causing officers to open fire, resulting in his death.

The lawsuit alleges that Villarreal was shot without warning or probable cause, and states that he was unarmed and did not pose a threat to officers. The lawsuit also alleges that an officer with the Indio Police Department took an apartment manager's cell phone and erased video of the incident and also alleges that the Indio Police Department seized video from security cameras at the apartments, where the shooting was also erased.

The Indio Police Department has confirmed the officer who shot Villarreal is Cpl. Leonardo Perafan. Sgt. Dan Marshall offered the following statement after News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 reached out to the department on Monday:

"As a matter of practice, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department conducts an independent criminal culpability investigation in conjunction with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office on any Officer Involved Shooting by the Indio Police Department. The Indio Police Department is conducting a parallel administrative investigation that is still ongoing."

Initial Report:

The Riverside County Coroner's Office has released the identity of the man killed in an officer-involved shooting in Indio on Wednesday afternoon.

Samuel Villarreal, an 18-year-old from Thousand Palms, was shot at the Shadow Palm Apartments and later died at the hospital.

According to Deputy Armando Munoz, "Just after 1:00 p.m., Indio police were conducting a vehicle theft investigation at the Shadow Palm Apartments on Shadow Palm Avenue and Monroe Street when an officer involved shooting occurred."

Officers saw the reported stolen vehicle enter the parking lot of the complex and as they attempted to apprehend the suspect, Villarreal reportedly accelerated the vehicle in reverse, striking the officer's vehicle, and that's when the shooting occurred, according to the release.

Authorities said the officers immediately administered CPR and called for an ambulance.

"No officers were hurt," says Munoz.  "The suspect was transferred to a local hospital where he later died."  

Per Indio Police Department policy, the officer involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave. The officer's name isn't being released at this time.

Indio police requested that the Riverside County Sheriff's Department conduct an investigation and the Central Homicide Unit is now in charge.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will keep you updated as the investigation moves forward.


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