Carillo, a Latino cellular store worker, placed a 911 call Saturday night to report that two young African American males had stolen his backpack with a laptop inside of it out of his car. He alleged that they were wearing head-to-toe black. He said one was armed with a weapon. Carillo then changed his story and said both teens were armed. Carillo told police that the boys were traveling on foot on Orange Grove Blvd.
According to Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez, the erroneous chain of events and tragic end result was ignited by that phony phone call and accounts for the mindset of the officers, who wound up killing 19-year-old Kendrec McDade because they thought he was armed with a gun.
When two officers spotted McDade and a 17-year-old unidentified accomplice walking along Orange Grove, they approached them. Reportedly, McDade ran from the officers until another policeman used his cruiser to corner him in an alley. Police said that McDade allegedly made a motion towards the waist of his pants and that’s when they opened fire.
McDade, who was a college student and football star, died as a result of the gunshot wounds. When police questioned Carillo about his phone call to 911, he admitted that his plea for help was partly fake. He said he had made up his story about the suspects being armed in order to speed up police response. Investigators believe that Carrillo knew the two suspects. Carrillo said that he recognized them in part because they patronized the cellular store at which he is employed. As the investigation progresses, detectives have now determined that there are many inconsistencies to Carillo’s story. One thing is clear: both McDade and the other teen were unarmed. Investigators never found a backpack or a laptop on either of the men.
According to the McDade family’s lawyer, Caree Harper, ”His [Carillo] brazen lie triggered a series of events that caused my client’s son to be killed on the street like a dog, and we want justice,” he told the Pasadena Sun. Harper suspects that Carrillo “knew that by saying black men robbed me in hoodies, it would trigger an expedited response from the police department, and he got just that. This man lied about about one thing, so he could lie about another,” says Harper. “There’s so much reasonable doubt you could spread it with a knife.”
The unidentified 17-year-old was arrested and charged with two counts of commercial burglary, one count of grand theft and one count of failure to register as a gang member as a condition of his probation. Harper, who also represents the teen, will request that the youth be released on Thursday.
According to theLos Angeles Times, a security camera video depicts that there were two young men involved in the theft of Carillo’s backpack from his car. Police Chief Sanchez is alleging that McDade was the lookout in the theft. Meanwhile police arrested Carillo on Wednesday and charged him with involuntary manslaughter related to the officer involved shooting.
The case has garnered the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union who are calling for an independent investigation. Religious and civil rights leaders in the area have also demanded to speak to Police Chief Sanchez about the murder. The L.A. County District Attorney’s office is delving into the case and Police Chief Sanchez says his department is sorting through video tapes and audio transmissions.
The McDade case smacks of the recent Trayvon Martin murder, the unarmed teen who was shot to death last month by George Zimmerman, also a Latino, who claims that the boy was armed and a threat to his life.