On April 26, 2015, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Fountain Valley Officers were called to the scene of a commercial burglary in progress at the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 18395 Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley. When Officers arrived, they believed they were responding to a crime in progress.
As Officers made entry and contacted Mr. Dean Genova, they encountered an individual who was not acting rationally, was combative, and repeatedly refused directions and commands. Mr. Genova also had a mixture of alcohol, prescription drugs and methamphetamine in his system.
After biting Officer MacKay, Mr. Genova grabbed Officer Martinez’ holstered firearm. When Officer MacKay believed that Mr. Genova was gaining control of Officer Martinez’ weapon, Officer MacKay fired one round that led to the death of Mr. Genova. Officer MacKay only fired after Officers employed less lethal options to obtain compliance, including strikes and the use of a Police Service dog, as well as numerous verbal commands to Mr. Genova to release his grip on the weapon.
The District Attorney thoroughly investigated this incident and has deemed Officer MacKay not criminally culpable in Mr. Genova’s death. The District Attorney’s Office found that Officer MacKay “did not commit a crime and he was doing his job in a reasonable and lawful manner.” I concur.
Still pending is a Departmental review to determine whether or not the Officers’ actions were within Department policy. This inquiry will be internal in nature to determine whether the Department’s policies and procedures were followed and whether additional training is necessary for the Officers involved or the Department as a whole. It is our policy to conduct a thorough review of all uses of force by members of the Department; this review is designed to ensure that our personnel have the equipment, training and exposure to the most current best practices.
The death of Mr. Genova is a tragic event that I wish could have been avoided. I express my condolences to the family of Mr. Genova on their loss.
It is clear from the District Attorney’s investigation that Mr. Genova’s actions forced responding Officers to react in a way that ultimately led to a deadly use of force. While I regret Mr. Genova died as a result of his actions, I am also aware of how his actions have affected the Officers who responded to this incident. The Officers responding to that call that night had no intention other than to do their job in the way they had been trained and to the best of their ability; to keep themselves and the community safe. I am grateful that they survived the incident with relatively minor injuries and are back to work.
Our community should be as proud as I am of these Officers. Duty requires them to be in harm’s way on our behalf, a duty which they regularly perform with courage and professionalism.