Notice during the first portion of the interview, the part discussing the lead-up to the shooting, Torres states he doesn't hear a thing. Later in the interview, they take a break and go off the record. When they return, the discussion turns to probably cause as to why Torres felt the need to pump 11 rounds into Jason Wilkinson from less than 6 feet away.
Officer Rick Torres Interview, he is interrupted 6 times during his interview.
EO: Okay. Today’s date is May 10, 2005, and the time is 1510 hours. I’m Detective Eric O’Dell with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. We are at the Vancouver Police Major Crimes Office. And also present is Detective Stuart Hemtcok. Stuart, why don’t you go ahead and state your name and we’ll go around the room for voice identification.
SH: Stuart Hemstock
EO: With Vancouver Police.
RT: Rick Torres
EO: Vancouver City Police. And?
MS: Mike Staropoli.
EO: Okay. And. Rick-is it Rick or Richard?
RT: I go by Rick.
EO: Okay. You’re aware that this conversation is being tape recorded here today?
EO: And is that with your permission?
EO: Any threats or promises been made in order to obtain this statement?
EO: Okay. And so, you’re aware this interview is part of the criminal investigation by the Regional Major Crimes Unit in reference to Master Case 784. Rick, you’re a Vancouver City Police Officer. How long have you been with the City of Vancouver?
RT: Almost six years.
EO: Okay. Any prior law enforcement experience?
EO: Okay. And with the City of Vancouver, do you have any special training? Are you part of the SWAT team or anything like that?
RT: Well, I’ve trained with the AR 15. Less Lethal Taser. I was a member of the SWAT team for about 10 months, two years ago.
EO: Okay. And, currently, you’re not on the SWAT team?
RT: Not anymore, no.
EO: Okay. And the Taser training was part of?
RT: It’s just….I’ve been in Taser training for probably close to a year and a half, two years now. Went through….go through annual certification on that. I’ve been trained with the AR 15 probably just under five years. I just had re-certification with that. Trained with Sage Less Lethal for about five years, also.
EO: Okay. And on Sunday, May 8, 2005, were you working?
EO: Okay. What shift were you working?
RT: Day shift at East Precinct.
EO: Okay. And what are the hour of day shift?
RT: 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
EO: And what was your call sign?
RT: 2 David 8
EO: Okay. And were you driving a marked patrol car?
EO: Were you in full uniform?
EO: Okay. As part of your uniform, you have a duty belt. What items are on your duty belt?
RT: My duty radio, flashlight, Taser, handcuffs- two sets of handcuffs- two magazines, and my duty weapon.
EO: Okay. What is your duty weapon?
RT: It’s a Glock 34. 9 millimeter.
EO: Do you carry a backup weapon?
EO: Okay. And how do you load your magazines?
RT: By hand. One by one.
EO: Okay. Do you know how many the magazine holds?
RT: I think they hold….each hold 15 to 17. I’m not exactly sure.
EO: Okay. Do you carry one in the chamber?
EO: And a full magazine? Or do you-
RT: No. No. All my magazines are typically one to three rounds short of their full..of the full capacity.
EO: Okay. And are you left-handed or right-handed.
RT: Right handed.
EO: And what other weapons do you have in your vehicle or in your trunk?
RT: I usually have a department-issued shotgun for the vehicle. I don’t think there was one in there on this day. And I carry my AR 15 also.
EO: Okay. Do you carry that in the trunk or in the-
RT: In the front seat.
EO: In the front seat. And how long had you been on duty when this-do you know when this call came out?
RT: I think, just from the reports I read, it was around 11:30, 11:20.
RT: I’m not exactly sure of the time.
EO: So, you’d been working how long?
RT: About five and a half hours.
EO: Do you recall any prior calls that you had been on?
RT: The only other call I had that day was a stolen vehicle report.
EO: Okay. I’m going to kind of back up here a little bit. Do you recall how many hours of sleep you got the night before?
RT: When I work, I typically try and get seven hours of sleep. That’s pretty…pretty standard. I usually don’t…maybe six and a half at the least.
RT: But I usually get seven.
EO: And did you consume any alcohol or drugs in the previous 24 hours?
EO: Okay. And do you recall how you became involved in this call? Were you dispatched? Did you volunteer?
RT: No. I just heard it over the radio and I was fairly close, so I responded, because I was kind of aware that there weren’t that many people working in that area at the time.
EO: Okay. Do you recall what you heard on the radio?
RT: I heard Officer Key ask for a quick check on a plate. Which is kid of not typical.
RT: So I kind of-
EO: And why is that not typical?
RT: Well, I’ve known him pretty well, and I could tell by the tone of his voice that something was up. And, too, typically when someone will ask for a quick check on a plate, it’s because they have a pretty good idea that the vehicle they’re checking is stolen. So, I was kind of thinking that something was going on.
EO: Okay. Did you start in his direction?
RT: I was in the you know, the middle of the block, I was in, and I went up about another block, and I started thinking that I knew one of his cover officers was at the jail with someone, and then, another one who I thought would….could cover him I thought was out on another call. And I knew that they were – I’m pretty certain that they didn’t have a person working beat, too, on that day. So, I turned around and I was thinking I was probably the closest person to him. So, I turned around.
EO: Okay. Were you responding code 1, code 2, code 3? Do you know?
RT: Well, I turned around. I just made a U-turn and started heading towards his direction, because, at that point, that’s all that had come over the air.
RT: I was actually on my way to go have breakfast with my wife and kids, and so, I was fairly close to that, and I just said, I’ll just go see what he’s got going on and help him out if I have to, and then, head back over. But.
EO: Okay. So, you’re heading towards Officer Key. What do you hear next?
RT: I think the next thing I heard was they came over the air with….that the license plate he had given came back clear on a vehicle that they list out. It was-
EO: They, being dispatch?
RT: And then, he said, Confirm. You ran- I don’t know what the plate was, but 123ABC. He said it very clearly so they could understand it.
RT: And I could tell then, at the …in his voice that, you know. Because I know John pretty well. I’ve worked with him quite a bit over the last five or six years. And you know, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I know that something’s going on. Is why he’s asking that. So then, Dispatch, I’m assuming, ran it again, and it came back. And I don’t know if they came back – at some point, they came back and said the vehicle was 1043, which I knew to be stolen. So, then, I started stepping it up a little bit to get closer to where he was.
EO: And did you active your lights and siren?
RT: Not at that point. Or, you know, there’ s a little bit of time while this was taking place, and I could tell the way the conversation was going on, I kind of stepped….started stepping it up to get there a little bit faster. And I was headed down 39thStreet eastbound toward P street. There, you know, it was Sunday morning, there wasn’t much traffic, so I just, you know, I wasn’t running code or anything.
EO: What information are you hearing over the radio?
RT: The things I heard, I don’t, you know. I’m not specific as to…..don’t know specifically as to what order they came in. him asking them to re-check it. And again, I could tell by the tone of his voice that he knew something was up. And I was thinking then he probably ran it himself and was thinking it was stolen, but he wasn’t sure, so he wanted them to confirm it.
I heard him say at some point, Somebody ran from the vehicle. A passenger ran from the vehicle. They come back and say it’s…it’s 1043. And then, I hear him say Okay. The driver’s ducking down. He’s out of my field of view. I think those were the statements he made. I can’t tell what he’s doing.
So, when that’s going on, I start stepping up towards, I mean, I knew he was at 33rdand I. I knew exactly where he was at. I’m very familiar with that area. So I started turning code right before I turned north on P Street and 39th.
EO: Okay. Well, why are you going north on P Street?
RT: I’m sorry. South on P Street. It goes up the hill, and I was think it’s north.
RT: It…..Yeah. So-
EO: So, you’re headed to this location-
EO: -and you’re taking P Street south-
RT: Southbound from 39th.
EO: -from 39th.
RT: Correct. I apologize.
EO: Okay. I’m with you. Okay. And he says the driver’s out of his view ducking down?
EO: Okay. Do you recall anything else that he said?
RT: No. I know at this time. I kind of become concerned that he was either, you know, maybe getting a weapon or hiding a weapon, or- and, you know. I don’t know if John was in his car, or kind of what that situation….where his car was parked in relation to this guy or which way the…the vehicle, or the van was facing.
So, I’m coming up P Street and I’m getting ready to ask him, hey, what direction are you facing? Because I’m going to be coming west on P. Or west on 33rd. Or east on 33rd. And I was thinking, Well, you know if you know, he’s facing towards me. I’m going to drive the block around and come up behind him or, if I was going to be coming up behind him the way I was going.
When I was getting ready to ask him that I heard him say he’s starting the van. He’s taking off. He’s southbound or northbound on T Street.
RT: When that happened I was just about to 33rd, southbound on P. I don’t know, just by 33rd, so obviously, I know he’s you know, six blocks away or what not. So, I flipped a U-turn, because they’re going north, and I was para…you know, I was thinking. Okay. I’m going to be parallel to them because I know there’s not a lot of places for this guy to pop out.
So, I’m going and I remember stopping at a few streets, looking down to see if I see them running by. There’s only a few streets that actually go all the way through and maybe there’s only one, but. So, then I hear him say Okay, we’re going to be going west on 39thStreet. So, I stopped down at the bottom of the hill at 39thand P and I looked east on 39thStreet and I’m sitting there waiting for them to come.
And I could see them coming and I remember thinking to myself, you know. I’m expecting them—(Makes whipping sound)-to be coming, but they’re like they’re moving slow. So, I sat there and waited for them.
EO: O kay. And when you say slow, what would you guess their speeds to be?
RT: You know, I would say they really weren’t going over the speed limit. Maybe 25 to 30. But I remember sitting there looking at them and thinking they were taking a long time, because I could see John’s lights on behind him. It seemed like it took them a long time to get to me.
EO: Okay. Are your lights and sirens on?
RT: My lights. I don’t – my siren, I don’t think, was on, but my lights were on.
EO: Okay. Can you describe the vehicle that Officer Key is following?
RT: I think it was a two-tone brown mini-van. Because I was, at some point I remember I was going to put that over the air, that it was a two-tone brown minivan, but I don’t think I ever did.
RT: I think it had a lighter brown stripe through the middle.
EO: So, you’re stopped at 39thand P and they’re westbound-
RT: Westbound, right.
EO: -on 39th.
EO: Okay. What happens next?
RT: As they get to the…the intersection, I think there was a car that was kind of sitting there that was going westbound on 39ththat pulled over. Kind of-
EO: A civilian car?
RT: Right. And then, they came and they just went around and then they turned north, and then they immediately turned east and got on the ramp to go eastbound on 500.
EO:` They being Officer Key-
RT: Officer Key was following the van.
RT: And, you know, I don’t recall them moving too fast. And…and I know there was a vehicle southbound off 15thAve. There, and a vehicle eastbound from….from 39thStreet at that intersection. And I’m thinking they probably thought he was just pulling his car, or his van over, because they all merged into the intersection and this other car does, and get behind him. And I’m like, they’re all- so, now they’re…they’re all between me and them. Me and Officer Key.
So, you know, and then, they like freeze and they kind of stop and start going real slow, because I guess they see me behind them with my lights on and Officer Key in front of them with his lights on. So then, Officer Key and the van were obviously making good space on me. So, I get around them, and then I….I think I remember I put out that, you know, we’re going to be going east on 500 and I’ll call. I’ll call back.
EO: Okay. Let me back you up a little bit. Can you see Officer Key and the van at the intersection of 39thand the on-ramp to 500? Or are they out of your view?
RT: When they go around and get on?
RT: Okay. Yeah, I see them go just make basically a U-turn and get on the ramp there?
RT: Just…it’s a four-way stop sign.
EO: Okay. But does the van stop?
RT: No, he just rolls kind of kind of at slow speed.
EO: Rolls through the stop sign-
EO: -and now he’s eastbound on 500?
EO: And so, the van’s not pulling over? It’s continuing eastbound?
EO: Ad you get on the radio and say?
RT: I’m pretty sure I said we’re going to be going eastbound. I’ll call it. I’ll take- you know, I’ll call the traffic out.
EO: So, you’re the second police car?
RT: Well, I mean, well, there’s a pretty good distance between the two of us now, because I’ve tried to work my way around these cars. And then, we get up on to 500 and I see them move over into the number one lane. So, I kind of move over and speed up pretty quickly to try and-I want to get up close to them.
And so, we’re continuing east, I think I put out again that we were continuing east, approaching St. John’s. And then, we get to the intersection at St. John’s and 500. And you know, I can’t recall if John had put out for me to get in front because I had pit bars, or, you know what exactly was said. But I remember we get to the intersection, John comes out in the intersection and kind of stops his car halfway as the van is turning northbound on St. John’s.
EO: There’s a traffic control-
EO: -device there.
EO: Do you know, is it green?
RT: I don’t…I didn’t see it. I don’t...don’t remember what it was. I know….know that traffic was moving, you know. I’m pretty sure that traffic-because I remember the intersection being really clear.
RT: And I remember kind of going through it, it wasn’t like we were going through it at a really high rate or anything. It was just kind of-stopped right through it.
EO: Okay. Now, the van’s northbound on St. Johns?
RT: Right. And I remember Officer Key had pulled over kind of to the side, and I thought is he blocking traffic? And then, I remembered the whole pit bar. I remember looking at his ,just kind of getting a glimpse of his pit bar and seeing that- I remember because we had talked about it the day before. He’s got just the old type little horseshoe pit bar. And I remember he kept telling me Pit him. If you get a chance, pit him. So, I went up and took the number one spot.
EO: Okay. Have you been trained in the pit maneuver?
EO: Okay. So, now you’re in the lead and Officer key is behind you?
EO: Can you describe the driving of the van? Is he-
RT: You know, when I think about it, I don’t…in my mind, it’s kind of like we’re just going up St. John’s. I don’t know if I had said something on the air, but I remember john telling me I’ll call it. Just pit him. Pit him. When you get a chance pit him. And so, I’m just kind of like watching the back of the van. I don’t recall you know, driving a ta really high rate. We were maybe 10 miles over the speed….speed limit.
But when I think back of it, it’s kind of like, I mean, my recollection of the whole thing is kind of like real time, up until we get on St. John’s, then it’s pretty slow motion from there until right before I pit him. In my mind, it’s like kind of like we’re..we’re going up St. John’s, we turn. I didn’t know what road we had turned east on when we ended up---and it turned out it was 49th. I didn’t you know, I don’t…I didn’t know at the time what road it was and it was kind of like, okay, now I’m getting ready to pit him. And it’s-everything between that is kind of like slow motion.
EO: Okay. Were you thinking of pitting him when he turned east?
RT: You know, he kind of did it abruptly and it was….it was just….I was too far. It wouldn’t work…it didn’t work out.
RT: I know I was trying to find – we were in the….what I recall is we were in the...number one lane. The left-hand lane. So, it was not working out. I didn’t have an opportunity to pit him. But I was, you know, I was trying to find. And once we started going east, I’m like okay, I’ll see if I can get him up there.
EO: At the intersection of 49thand St. John’s, do you recall any other vehicle?
RT: I think there were some vehicles, at least one, I think, at that intersection westbound on 49th.
EO: Stopped at the stop sign?
RT: I’m not sure if it’s a light or a stop sign there.
EO: Okay. Was there any erratic driving or collisions or anything that you saw at 49th?
RT: I see no collisions. You know, like I said, it’s kind of slow motion. I just remember going around that corner and I don’t really remember anything that’s sticking out in my mind as far as-
EO: Okay. So, now you’re eastbound on 49thStreet?
EO: And you’re in the number-
EO: -one spot?
RT: Right. And at this point, I mean, I really don’t even know exactly how far John is. I kind of can see his lights, like, just, in my mirror. Peripheral vision. And I can hear him say, pit him, Rick. Pit him. Pit him up at this intersection. So, that’s when I ws thinking that because I could see we were coming up to a T. And I was like, Okay, this will probably be my best shot to take him.
EO: What are his speeds from St. John’s to the intersection?
RT: You know, like, it’s probably 25 through there maybe 39, 30, 35, I don’t remember going, you know, mach speed through there. And again, at that…in my mind, that’s kind of like, I remember focusing on his back end and then, just- I kept looking to see if there were cars on the side of the road and what that intersection was looking like.
EO: Okay. Can you see the driver?
RT: No. I mean, I can see the back of his head, but I don’t-
EO: Okay. Can you tell if there’s just the driver or other occupants?
RT: I only saw one person. Just the driver.
EO: The driver.
RT: I didn’t see anyone else.
EO: Okay. So, you’re kind of looking ahead at the intersection coming up.
EO: Going through your mind, you thought you could pit him at the intersection.
RT: Which way is he going to turn and…and…how I’m going to pit him. How I’m going to get up next to him to pit him.
EO: And how close are you?
RT: As we were coming up on the intersection, he starts to break quite a bit and so, I get…I’m pretty close behind him. You know. Less-I would say probably less than a vehicle distance. I can see pretty clearly that you know, I can see his van braking and you know, he was….he was kind of going (gestures) – like he was deciding which way to go. You know. Just kind of like this (gestures) And then, he turned…he turned north.
EO: Okay. So, he’s kind of like, hesitating-
EO: -and the van is kind of going back and forth like, which way to go?
EO: and when you say you can see him braking, are you seeing smoke from tire, or the nose dip down?
RT: I think I just kind of saw you know, the nose dip down a little bit, and he was you know, the front end, like he started to go this way and then that way and, like, he didn’t know which way to go.
EO: Okay. So what happens next?
RT: So, he turns north and that’s when I you know, I’m like, Okay, I’m going to hit him right here, to myself. And I hit him on his left rear side.
EO: Which part of the vehicle?
RT; Some-I would say my push bar, maybe center over to the right. So, I’m not sure exactly where it was. And so, he’s turning, and he kind of skips up a little bit, and then, spins 90 degrees. And then, he, you know, I could, you know, he’s trying to take off again. He hasn’t lost…really lost all that much control of the vehicle. And so, I’m coming around and I’m like, well, I’m going to hit him again and try and spin him around. So I hit him again, and then, I go off behind him.
EO: Okay. Where do you hit him again?
RT: Same spot.
EO: Same spot?
RT: Same spot on his vehicle.
EO: Okay. Well, when you hit him the second time, which direction is the van facing?
RT: Want me to show you up on the board? Or?
(Torres goes to the board to demonstrate)
RT: Do you want me to use a different color pen?
SH: Yes please.
RT: So, the first time I hit him, he ends up facing – I think he…I think he’s about right…I think he’s like that.
EO: So, he's facing westbound?
EO: In the middle of the road?
EO: He’s facing westbound?
EO: In the middle of the road?
EO: Can you label that one A?
SH: And then b,c,d.
EO: And he’s sideways to the traffic?
RT: But he doesn’t seem to have really lost much control of the van, because he starts to move again. And I’m right there. So I thought, well, I’m going to hit him again and maybe if I can spin him around right in this area, where he’d gone was now right here. So, I ended up…I hit him again. And I think my car was probably like this when I hit him the second time.
RT: Okay? And when I hit him there, he I’m assuming, ended up in this front yard.
RT: Because what happened is I went around and I ended up with my car right here.
SH: So, if you can letter it B as in boy, next to your car where you pit him the second time, and C Charlie, is your car—
RT: When I finally stop.
SH: When you finally-
RT: Where I finally stop.
SH: -finally stop
EO: Okay. So, you’re in somebody’s yard.
RT: A side yard right there.
EO: The northeast corner of their residence?
EO: Okay. And you’re off of the intersection is 40thAvenue?
EO: Okay. So, do you see where the van goes?
RT: I remember hitting this grass and hitting my brakes and kind of sliding a little bit, because, you now, I don’t want to go in these guys backyard. And my car slides to a stop. And I look and see him now. He’s driving through here. He’s in here. In this area (points to area).
EO: Okay. So, he’s headed in the southwest direction-
EO: -through these peoples yard.
RT: And I can see the right rear quarter panel of his van heading through there. So, I get out of my car and I start running this way (gestures)
RT: And I see Officer Key running over here also. And then, I see him, he starts accelerating through here. He’s getting, you know, he’s moving at a pretty good clip. And there’s a lot of trees dotted throughout this yard.
EO: He being the van?
RT: Correct. I see the van driving through the yard. And, you know, I see that there’s a lot of trees, so he’s kind of like maneuvering through the trees and the van. And I thought, well, he’s going to- he’s going to get back on the road and take off. And then, he hits the telephone pole.
RT: Which I didn’t even see there. You know, I didn’t even know it was a telephone pole he hit. I thought it was a tree.
EO: Okay. And so, you’re out on foot—
EO: -and Officer Key is out on foot?
RT: And Officer Key is out on foot. And I see him hit the telephone pole. And I thought he was laying dead in the water. Because, you know, it looked like he hit it pretty hard. His back end came up. So, I saw Officer Key approaching on the drivers side, so I started making my way up to the passenger side.
EO: Okay. Is your weapon drawn?
RT: Not until I get to the van. I remember…remember seeing John out of my side, get to the van or, you know, running up on the van. I’m running up on the passenger side, I can see John through the windows getting up to the driver’s door. And I get up to the window behind the driver…behind the passenger front window. There’s I think there’s like, three sets of windows. So, the bigger one which would be, like, on the sliding door.
EO: The middle window?
RT: The middle window. When I got- I remember getting up there, and putting my hand up on the window, showing my gun and yelling at him, show me your hands, show me your hands.
EO: Okay. Can you see what the driver is doing?
RT: No. I…..I remember, almost like…when I think about it, almost like the window was really dirty. Or-but I can see through it and I can see John on the other side.
EO: Okay. And where is John at?
RT; I’m thinking he’s like, right next to the driver’s door. And then, I just, I’m yelling at him, show me your hands, show me your hands.
EO: Was john yelling anything? Can you hear?
RT: I don’t know.
RT: I don’t recall hearing him.
he heard officer key yelling.
EO: But you’re yelling at the driver, show me –
RT: I’m just, show me your hands, show me your hands. And then, I hear wheels starting spinning (demonstrates noise). And I can feel on my hand the van start to move.
EO: You’ve got your left hand on the van?
RT: My left hand, and I’m up on the gun like this (demonstrates)
EO: Okay. You’ve drawn your weapon?
RT: Yes. And I can feel the van starting to move, and then, It…I could feel it kind of moving away, like the front moving away from me, or…. And the back end moving, sliding towards me. And then, I just see John (slaps hands together) go down. And, I mean, he went down (snaps fingers) like that. It wasn’t just like he stumbled backward. It was just-(slaps hands together).
And when I think about it, it’s like, if you look at those old, you know, those videos like on Dash Cam where they have the troopers getting hit on the side of the road, where they’re just boom (slaps hands) they’re down? That’s how I would describe it. I mean, he was just there and, all of a sudden, I just saw him go down.
EO: Okay. And the van, is it moving at this time?
RT: The van is starting to….I can hear and, you know, I distinctly remember hearing (demonstrates noise) – the wheels spinning on the grass and it’s moving. And the front end is moving…the front end is moving away from me, toward right where John went down. And I’m yelling stop, stop. And he’s – and I’m thinking the wheels are on top of John, spinning. And I’m yelling at him to stop, and he just keeps going.
And I’m thinking, in my mind I was picturing John just getting chewed up by these wheels. And then, it keeps going, and I remember kind of backing away from it a little bit. And then, at some point, I shot….I fired to stop him.
EO: Okay. Do you know how many times you fired?
RT: I thought what happened was I fired four rounds, and he kept going, and he was- and then, I fired…made a quick assessment, and he hadn’t stopped, and I fired …I fired two more. That’s what I think I did.
another 4 rounds into Jason. He recalls shooting 6
rounds. "At some point" someone would recognize
Torres is not credible.
RT: I remember…I remember looking at him, after firing at him, he was looking at me and he was just staring right at me. And I remember him being tucked up close on the steering wheel and he’s just looking at me, like, you know, like, if I was you—I had the, you know, point end of the gun. I know I had fired at him, and he’s looking at me, and he’s like-(demonstrates noise)- and I can hear the wheels spinning. He’s like-(demonstrates noise)- looking at me, and he’s just…he’s going. He just keeps going.
EO: He’s looking at you on the passenger side?
RT: He’s looking right at me. And I could…I just remember the look on his face. Like (demonstrates noise) – like nothing was...had affected him.
EO: Which window are you looking in?
RT: I’m looking at him through the passenger window.
EO: Okay. Not the middle window-
EO: -But the front?
RT: By now, he’s yeah- he’s swung around and I’ve kind of got an angle now. My angle on him is through the passenger window.
EO: He’s in reverse?
RT: He’s in reverse.
RT: and it’s spinning around, you know, like…like almost making just like a quick horseshoe. And at that….at some point in there, I saw John almost, you know, he rolled out onto the street and his back was to me. And he was curled up, like, in a fetal position. And I heard him yell (makes loud yelling noise). And I just thought that he. He was dead. Or severely injured. And I remember seeing the outline of his vest through the back of his shirt. I don’t know why I just…..I remember seeing the outline of his vest.
And this guy’s looking at me and he’s not stopping. And I though, did I miss him? You now. Or did I shoot like across his stomach? So the, I shot……I thought I shot two more times into him. And…and then, that’s when the van kind of straightened out. Because I was thinking he’s just going to keep going in that circle. He’s going to run right back over John. Because John was just laying in the road. And I thought, He’s just going to make a complete U-turn back right over the top of him.
But since I’m out in front, you know, there I am in the middle trying to spin around to where he is, and this van is spinning, and I remember him, you know, he went limp in the van and….and it just kind….it straightened out and it kind of went backwards.
EO: Okay. As it’s rolling backwards, how close to Officer Key does he come?
RT: Well, at that time, you know, once it started rolling backwards, I kind of ran around to the front of it with…with my gun on…on the driver. And then, I saw a county car parked there that I had not seen before. That’s the first time I saw it. And then, Deputy Shankaer got out, and said, Go. Go over by John. And so, and that’s when I ran over to John. And I expected to find him just ruined.
EO: Do you remember what you said to John?
RT; I think I said, Are you okay? Are you okay? (emotional). And he said, I think so. And I was…he was trying to get up and I said stay down, stay down. So, I just….I just thought he was…I thought he was crunched. I really expected him to be, you know. And then, he said, I think I’m okay. I think I’m okay.
EO: Did you make a comment to him, that you recall?
RT: I don’t remember.
EO: Okay. Now, it’s you, Officer Key, and then, do you recall seeing Deputy Shanaker—
RT: MMhm, yep.
EO: -any time prior to that, or that’s the first time you see Deputy Shanaker.
RT: Well, it’s like- I remember seeing him kind of like when the van was rolling back, coming up the other…the back side of it, I think. Let me show you.
EO: Okay. Can we go to the board again?
(Torres goes to the board to demonstrate)
RT: So, the van had come around full circle like this. And was rolling back to this position. I think I remember Shanaker running up around this side of it, was the first time I saw him.
EO: So, he’s on foot? He’s out of his car?
RT: Well, that’s the first time I saw him, yes.
RT: And then, I was like, I remember telling him, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. Because I thought maybe when I had fired that he was back there. And he said. No, it’s okay. It’s okay. Just go over by John.
EO: Okay. So, you went to John and Deputy Shanaker, do you know what he did?
RT: I don’t…I don’t know.
(Torres returns to his seat)
RT: I just remember him telling me, you go over by John. Go over by John. So, I you know, I don’t know- and when he said that, I’m like—then I thought something was really (gestures)- with John. But.
EO: Okay. So, this horseshoe shape that the van is going, while you’re firing, you’re standing in the middle of the horseshoe at all times?
RT: Basically yes.
EO: Okay. Are you moving or are you stationary?
RT: Yeah, I think I’m spinning with it. With, you know---
EO: You’re turning with-
RT: -to keep…to see him.
RT: I mean, the…. This entire incident I probably looked at the driver for just the seconds it took to do the shooting, and then, as soon as it started rolling back, so, that was the only time I saw him, and- but I was turning with him. I remember it was kind of like, you know, I’m shooting….I was shooting like this and I came down and he was still looking at me like nothing happened. And so, then I went back up and I think I fired two more rounds.
EO: Okay. So, you think you fired a total of six?
RT: I would say….I would think six, yes. I mean, that’s what’s in my head.
EO: Okay. Can you tell us why you fired the two more?
RT: Because he was...when he was, you know, after I fired and I looked at him and he’s still driving and he’s like, it had no affect on him. So, I thought he was just going to keep going. I thought he was going to continue back and run over John, and I hadn’t done anything to, you know, I hadn’t stopped…what I was trying to do wasn’t stopping him.
EO: Okay. So, the threat was still there?
RT: The threat was…it was there just as much as it was before I fired. I mean, the course of the…the initial rounds I fired seemed to…they didn’t do anything to stop the threat at all.
RT: He….I mean, he was just looking at me, like (demonstrates noise)- just going and he didn’t stop.
EO: Okay. And why did you stop firing?
RT: Because I saw him go limp in the…in the seat and the van, you know, off the gas and it just…it straightened out. Like his tension on the wheel—
RT: - was released and it straightened out and it started just rolling backwards.
EO: Okay. Did you get on the radio at all and request or give any-
RT: I think I said, shots fired. But I have an earpiece and I don’t you know, usually when I get out on the radio. I can hear a click to my earpiece, but I remember not hearing anything, and I remember thinking, I don’t think I got out on my radio. I don’t think my traffic got out on the radio.
And you know, at this time, Shankaer, I could see him over there, and I’m thinking, I’m just going to go see how John is. I didn’t – I go, is my radio not working? And then, I could hear other people talking. So, I kind of- I don’t think I put anything else out. I don’t remember, anyway.
EO: Okay. Now as you’re standing inside the horseshoe, did you have concern for your safety?
RT: You know, I was thinking he’s going to swing around, you know. At that point, my major concern was that he was going to run back over John, Officer Key. And then, that his van was going to swing. If I had slipped, you know, if he would have turned the other way, he would have gone—(demonstrates noise)- right into me.
EO: Were his tires still spinning?
RT: I mean, I could hear them just – (demonstrates noise)- like when you’re done on grass. Just-
EO: Okay. And that is essentially what you were in, was grass?
EO: Okay. Do you recall, was the grass hard and solid? Soft and mushy?
RT: You know, I….I don’t….I mean, from you know, hearing him spin on it, you know, I knew it was wet from the morning and from the previous rain and stuff. But it wasn’t like, sloshy.
EO:: Do you recall the weather conditions that day?
RT: Gray. I mean, that’s what you know, I look in my head. It was gray out. You know.
EO: Okay. And it had rained previously?
RT: I believe so, yes.
EO: Okay. So, your reason for firing was for fellow officer? Not so much yourself?
RT: I mean, if I had to grade them, I would be, yes, my…my primary concern was that he was going to run over John again. And then secondarily, it was myself being right there so close to his vehicle that he could have turned and come right into me. And, you know, he was so close to that house, too.
EO: Okay. And you used the word again, so did you believe he had been run over?
EO: We’re getting close to the end of the tape. We’re going to have to flip it over here. Why don’t we go ahead and take a little break and change sides. And the time is 1552 hours.
(short break-Rick went to the bathroom-no conversation about the case)
They take a break at this point and they have a discuss-
ion off tape and immediately return to probable cause.
Notice how Torres changes his story and now recalls
hearing Officer Key yelling.
EO: (The conversation was not on tape). At what moment or point in time did you realize you were going to have to use deadly force?
RT: You know, I don’t know if I can recall a specific moment, it was kind of like just everything…John going down, the tires spinning, him yell. And the you know, hearing John yell. Me giving the driver a command to stop, he’s not stopping. I guess it was just like…it wasn’t like a certain moment that I can recall. It’s just like it was everything. He’s not going to stop, he’s not stopping.
EO: Okay. After you saw John on the side of the road, I think you said-
EO: -how many shots did you fire after you saw him on the side of the road?
RT: I mean, I know the last two for sure. You know. It was kind of like I see him go down, he’s yelling, I hear the tires spinning, and the van is going out right where he is, you know, the front end is pointing out right…and I hear – (demonstrates noise). It was like the same thing.
RT: And I don’t know if it was just, you know, i don’t know what it was. And, like, and then I’m like, He’s killing John. And then, the van’s moving and you know, was I shooting then, or you know, at what point exactly it was. And I could…kind of like…then it kind of opens up and I see the van and the driver and I seeJohn right here, you know, come out to the front of it, and that’s where he’s on his back kind of curled up in a fetal position, and he yells it again (demonstrates noise). So, you know, I don’t… I can’t tell you exactly when it was I fired. But, I was like stop, stop, stop the van. And he just keeps going.
EO: Okay. And, as you recall you had the kind of two volleys?
EO: How much time do you think it was between the first volley and the second volley?
RT: I mean it was pretty immediate. It was just enough time for me to see…nothing had happened. There was no difference in the actions. He just…he’s still going and the van was starting to whip back toward me. You know, right back to where…where Officer Key was. It was just like…(demonstrates noise). You know, it was…it was-
EO: You’re describing whipping. Was it…I remember you initially said it was moving slightly. I mean, was this starting to pick up momentum now-
EO: -this whipping?
RT: Yeah, it’s like it’s coming. It’s starting…the front end is starting to kind of spin around pretty fast. And I’m thinking he’s just going to spin back like this and right back onto the road where John is.
EO: Okay. Did you reload your weapon-
EO: -at any point in time?
EO: Okay. Kind of go back a little bit to the pursuit part of it.
EO: Do you recall what point in time you turned your siren on?
RT: I think I turned it on when I was trying to get through all those people. Because I….while I’m sitting there on 39thand P waiting for them to come westbound. I’m pretty sure I did not have it on at that point. And then once they took off, and then, those other cars kind of…there was a little major conglomeration right back there. I was, like- I think that’s when I kicked it on.
RT: But I think what happened is I may have had it on running up to him, and then, when I made the U-turn at 39thand you know, when I went north to go before the van took off, I think I had it…I think I had it on running up P Street, and then, made my U-turn, and I turned it off, sitting right there waiting for him.
EO: Okay. Detective Hemstock, do you have any questions?
SH: The firearm that was used, that you used on that day, was - same firearm that was collected as evidence-
SH: -In this case?
EO: And so, sometime after the incident you went to the hospital and gave a voluntary blood and urine sample-
EO: And that was voluntary?
SH: And the photographs taken of you immediately following by, I believe it was Detective Walker?
SH: And was that the same uniform that you were wearing when you took photos? You didn’t shed any layers or everything else prior to the photographs?
RT: No, it was the same thing that I was wearing.
EO: Now, when you were with Officer Key, and other people are dealing with the driver, do you recall who the next person was that you saw and any conversation between them?
RT: No. I have no idea who showed up. It’s like, Officer Key, talking to him and seeing if he’s okay, and that’s when I turned. I mean, there’s like, people everywhere. So, I don’t know what sequence they arrived or really even who it was.
EO: Do you recall any of your comments to anybody?
RT: I remember telling John, I thought you were dead. I thought you were dead. And like, I think I may have said that just as I was milling around. Like, I kind of I thought you were dead. You know.
EO: Okay. Counselor, anything?
MS: I don’t have anything at this time. Thank you.
EO: Rick, is there anything that you want to add that we haven’t asked you about.
RT: No, not at this time. Nothing…nothing that I can think of.
EO: Okay. Detective Hemstock?
SH: Nothing more.
EO: Okay. And, again, Rick, you’re aware that this conversation is being tape recorded here today?
EO: And is that with your permission?
EO: Any threats or promises been made to you in order to obtain this statement?
EO: Okay. We will go ahead and conclude, and the time is 1602 hours.