Police Cleared in Mass Shooting of Pursuit Suspect

By Jesse B. Gill

Posted April 23, 2013 in Web Only
The Watch Dog Crime Blog LogoNot many folks who get shot multiple times by police after (allegedly) firing at them during a high-speed pursuit live to tell about it.

That’s exactly what 30-year-old Michael Ray Madrigal—who is now a paraplegic thanks to a bullet lodged in his spine—will have to do when his case finally goes to trial. Well, more likely, the deputy public defender representing will do the talking, but you get the idea.

Madrigal found himself on the wrong end of the service weapons of no fewer than four San Bernardino Police officers on Nov. 18, 2011. He also found himself perforated by their gunfire, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Officer Sharon Bonshire had just cleared an unrelated call on Fremontia Drive about 10:30pm. She was on patrol that night with Officer Eric Campos, who drove his own patrol car. She was walking back to her car when she spotted a blue 1999 Ford Contour with a driver she thought was a little sketchy. She told investigators that the driver (allegedly Madrigal) was “slumped low in the driver’s seat and had a beanie or a hoodie” covering his head.

Bonshire and ran the plates on the Contour and it came back reported stolen, according to a report issued by the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office.

(Though Madrigal was not killed in the officer-involved shooting, the District Attorney’s Office routinely conducts a comprehensive investigation of all police shootings in the county. The report mentioned in this story details the findings of that investigation.)

Bonshire hopped in her patrol car and started to trail the Contour—first east on 26th Street, then south on Valencia Avenue. That’s when Campos joined in, flipping a U-turn and fell behind Bonshire.

She hit the siren. The chase was on.

When Bonshire was casually following the Contour, it was going about 30 to 40 mph on the city streets. Now it was traveling between 60 to 70 mph.

Two other police cars joined the chase about the time Madrigal crossed Highland Avenue. When he hit 21st Street, Bonshire hopped on the radio and told the other officers she saw Madrigal reaching around in his car for something.

He swerved after he turned, heading south on Crestview Avenue. Bonshire told investigators she thought he was going to jump out of the car and run for it. He didn’t. She said Madrigal reached behind him and fire three to five shots at her through the Contour’s back window, shattering it. She wasn’t hurt, but she told investigators that that was about the point when she felt Madrigal was trying to kill her.

Campos hit the gas and shot in front of Bonshire, now the lead pursuer as Madrigal sped off south on Crestview, then on Gilbert Street. After that, south on Windsor Street. Bonshire said she saw Campos’ brake lights come on—right before Madrigal turned and fired a few more rounds at the patrol cars. She told investigators that Madrigal (heading west on Oakhurst Street then to Roxbury Drive—driving in a circle) would hit the brakes and when the pursuing officers drew nearer, he would open fire. Bonshire said he did this three or four times, all the while speeding up, slowing down and shooting at the police officers behind him.

After the second burst of gunfire, Bonshire said she heard a sergeant’s voice over her radio, telling the pursuing officers to take Madrigal out. She took that to mean a P.I.T. maneuver. She wasn’t too keen on that idea, what with the slowing and the shooting-anyone-who-got-close thing Madrigal seemed to have going on.

It didn’t matter because Madrigal finally stopped the car on Roxbury, near a home the officers would later learn was his father’s. He got out of the Contour. Campos and Bonshire got out of their cars and ran toward him, according to the report.

He wasn’t running. He stood there with both hands behind his back, she told investigators.

Bonshire screamed at the man, telling him to get on the ground. He didn’t, she said. He was screaming back at them, and screaming some not-very-nice things as he walked toward his father’s house.

The report reads as follows: “Officer Bonshire said to herself, ‘I can’t see his hands and I am not going to wait for him to shoot at me again.’”

Her gun already drawn, she opened fire at Madrigal. So did Campos. So did Officer Janine Cozine, who was also out of her patrol car and backing up the other two officers.

Madrigal was hit and he went down. He landed on his back, Bonshire said. The officers screamed at him again, telling him to show them his hands. He suddenly sat back up and showed them his hands—or more accurately, he showed them two angrily extended middle fingers.

And in what could be one of the ballsiest thing ever said by a shot man to the people who just shot him, Madrigal shouted, “Fuck you!”

Then he reached back behind his head, Bonshire told investigators. He was reaching behind his head to where the hood of his jacket was. The officers again demanded he show them his hands. He responded again with, “Fuck you!”

The officers—now joined by Sgt. John Cardillo—opened fire at him again.

He went down again, hands at his sides. Campos rushed in and handcuffed him. He had sustained several gunshot wounds and he was still conscious and still screaming at the officers.

Bonshire and the other officers found a .380 caliber handgun in the Contour Madrigal drove, according to the District Attorney’s report. They also found spent shell casing from a .40 caliber weapon in the car, but no matching gun. Officers found a .40 caliber Glock near the spot where the pursuit ended.

None of the shots allegedly fired by Madrigal hit the officers. The closest he came was putting a bullet hole through the front bumper of Campos’ patrol car, according to the report.

The District Attorney’s office did not file charges against Bonshire, Campos, Cozine or Cardillo, saying their use of force was justified.

“Clearly, and without question the officers involved in this incident had the right to use deadly force under the circumstances presented and in response to the suspect’s use of deadly force in trying to kill the officers,” the report reads.

Madrigal’s father, Robert Martin Madrigal, didn’t see it that way. When District Attorney’s investigators interviewed him, he told them he saw his son—who is homeless and does not live in his home on Roxbury Drive—get out of a car and say, “The cops are after me.” He said he told Madrigal to lie on the ground and his son complied.

Then the cops showed up, Robert Madrigal told investigators. They started yelling, demanding Michael Madrigal put his hands behind his back, which he said he saw his son do. He said he didn’t see his son reach for anything. He then described the officers shooting at his son like target practice, according to the report.

Here’s another choice excerpt from the report, attributed to Robert Madrigal: “ . . . and how pissed he is because the ‘fucking police’ have to shoot everybody for nothing.”

The District Attorney’s Office didn’t agree. The Madrigal family filed a civil rights lawsuit in April 2012 against the city of San Bernardino along with Bonshire, Campos, Cozine and Cardillo.

The father also said he believed his son was on parole. He was right. Madrigal had served time in state prison for several drug convictions dating back to 2003 and prosecutors say he had violated his parole several times before the Nov. 18 shooting incident.

Madrigal has been in custody ever since arrest (which followed a stay at a trauma center) at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. His high-ball bail ($1 million) has kept him from being released before trial and likely will keep him in county lockup until his trial is completed.

The incident also resulted in charges courtesy of the DA’s office. He’s facing two counts of assault with the attempted murder of a peace officer, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon (allegedly the gun) on a peace officer, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of felony evading a peace officer.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Madrigal is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing later this month.


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