Prosecutor won't charge a Salinas man who shot two teenage robbers in a tiny, tortilla-making business in October, killing one and wounding the other.
Police dubbed the man a "good Samaritan" after he laid down defensive fire Oct. 4 at Saltillo Tortilleria at North Sanborn and Boronda roads. At the time, police said they wouldn't seek charges from the Monterey County District Attorney's Office against the shooter.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz said Friday the case was finally reviewed by a prosecutor who was busy in a long trial and their conclusion was the shooter acted within the law.
Neither prosecutors nor police would release information about the man's identity.
"He is strictly a civilian and there will be no comment about personal facts because of the danger of retaliation," Spitz said.
Manuel Ceja, the surviving suspect, who like the slain boy, Jose Antonio Ceja, was 17 at the time, is facing charges of conspiracy on behalf of a gang and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Spitz said the shooter spotted the robbers from outside the tiny business, retrieved his properly stored handgun, returned to the shop and opened fire.
At least two other people were inside the store, but no one else was hit.
California law allows use of deadly force in defense of a third person, if the person has a reasonable belief the victim is in danger of being killed, seriously injured or robbed.
The person must have a reasonable belief that immediate use of deadly force is needed to "prevent any of that from happening," Spitz said.
The reviewing prosecutor said the tortilleria shooting fit the elements of the law and recommended no charges, he said.
Spitz said it was an unusual deadly-force case.
"This is very rare. The cases we see more frequently are when an officer has fired a handgun," he said.
Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.