ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Two Santa Ana police officers involved in fatal shooting of a burglary suspect in Westminster will not face any criminal charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
On July 8, 2018 sometime between 1:00 p.m. and 8:40 p.m., a residential burglary occurred at a
residence in Santa Ana. During the burglary, jewelry, camera equipment, documents, cellphones,
clothing, bedding and other items were taken from the residence. That same night at
approximately 9:56 p.m., SAPD Officers Ahearn and Lopez were assigned to the Patrol Division
While patrolling the area, officers noticed a red Toyota Camry driven by Ngoc Dang Nguyen, 28. driving out of the
residential neighborhood where the residential burglary occurred and onto West 1st Street. The
vehicle was driving in a reckless manner at speeds reaching up to 70 mph. Officers Ahearn and
Lopez activated both the emergency lights and the siren of their vehicle in order to conduct a traffic
stop. A pursuit of Nguyen was initiated after he failed to yield. As the officers were pursuing
Nguyen, Officer Ahearn broadcasted on the police radio that Nguyen threw a handgun from his
vehicle as he approached the intersection of Euclid Street and 1st Street. This handgun was never
recovered. Soon after, Nguyen’s vehicle collided with an unknown vehicle, however, Nguyen
continued driving without stopping.
The pursuit continued to Bolsa Avenue in the City of Westminster were Nguyen began driving on
the wrong side of the street into oncoming traffic. While driving west on the eastbound lanes of
Bolsa Avenue, Nguyen collided head-on with a 2010 Toyota Camry occupied by two elderly
passengers. As a result of the collision, the airbags in both vehicles were deployed and the
vehicles were disabled. The elderly passengers of the 2010 Toyota Camry were both injured and
Immediately following the collision, both Officer Ahearn and Officer Lopez exited the patrol vehicle
with their handguns drawn. The officers yelled commands for Nguyen to remain inside his vehicle.
Despite the officers’ commands, Nguyen began to exit the driver’s door, and then crawled across
the front seats eventually exiting through the front passenger door.
As Nguyen exited his vehicle, both officers continued yelling commands, however, Nguyen failed
to comply. The officers observed that Nguyen was holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic
handgun in his right hand and began to run in a northwest direction across the center divider,
which was filled with trees and bushes. As Nguyen was running into the covered area,
approximately eighteen gunshots were recorded. Both Officer Ahearn and Officer Lopez fired their
department issued firearms (Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic) multiple times, striking Nguyen
who eventually fell face down on the pavement adjacent to the north curb of the center divider.
Once Nguyen was down, Officers Ahearn and Lopez continued to yell commands to Nguyen,
however, Nguyen did not respond. Additional officers from SAPD and the Westminster Police
Department arrived on scene, approached and placed handcuffs on Nguyen. While placing the
handcuffs on Nguyen, officers located a loaded Smith and Wesson .45 caliber handgun under
Nguyen’s upper left torso.
The handgun recovered from under Nguyen was loaded in the ready with the safety off, with a
cartridge in the chamber and two additional cartridges in the magazine. Officers also located a
knife in a sheath on Nguyen’s belt and jewelry from the previously mentioned Santa Ana
residential burglary in his pockets.
Nguyen was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
You can read the whole report here: http://www.orangecountyda.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=23769
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