INDIO, Calif. - An Indio family's demanding justice, three months after police shot and killed 23-year-old Alejandro Rendon. Family and friends held a rally at the Larson Justice Center in Indio to ask for answers for themselves and others like them.
In that crowd, Rendon's mother, Valentina, broke down in tears. The pain of her youngest son's death hit a little harder after spending her first Mother's Day without him. "It broke our hearts, it hurt us to the fullest," said Alex's sister Margarita. "This is what makes me stronger, this pain, seeing the pain my mom going through that pain is going to make me get justice for my brother."
She led the handful of people who braved the hot temperatures to draw attention to her brother's death. They wore shirts with his name and face on them. They carried signs reading "police brutality" and "I.P.D. killed Alejandro."
"Their peace of mind would be that officer behind bars you know," said Havier Rendon, Alex's brother. "If we had murdered someone, we would be in jail right now, facing 25 to life."
On the night of February 14, Indio Police says the shooting happened at 82400 Miles Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Indio Police Public Information Officer Ben Guitron says an officer saw Rendon on a bicycle, thought he was suspicious and tried to stop him. Rendon reportedly sped off from the officer. The officer located Rendon a short time later and the officer involved shooting occurred. He died at the hospital. "These circumstances are not easy, and especially not easy for the families who lost loved ones, but we'll respect," said Guitron. "We live in an age where people have the right to voice their opinions and concerns." The Riverside County Sheriff's Department has taken over the investigation.
Rendon's family continues to place flowers at the place where he was shot on Miles Avenue every single day. They hope their continued protests shed light on other officer-involved shootings as well. Cases like Robert Shirar's. The 32-year-old crashed his truck into a guardrail on Interstate 10 last May. A police report says, when California Highway Patrol arrived, they found Shirar under the overpass. After a confrontation, an officer shot and killed him. Indio P.D. completed the investigation, and now must wait for the District Attorney's office. "We're obviously waiting for the due process on their end, which is meeting with our detectives and reviewing the case thoroughly."