Copyright 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved San Bernardino County Sun (California)
March 6, 2007 Tuesday
BYLINE: Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
FONTANA - The city will have to pay $250,000 as its share of a $1 million settlement awarded to the family of a man killed in 2004 by a Fontana police officer.
AIG, Fontana's insurance company, agreed to a settlement with the parents of Randy Jon Perchez Jr., the man fatally shot by Officer Richard Guerrero on Feb. 21, 2004.
Under an agreement with Fontana, the company will pay everything over $250,000 in any settlements involving the city, said Ed Raya, the city's risk-management director.
Perchez, a Fontana resident, was 22 when he was killed in a shooting that prosecutors had considered unjustified. But prosecutors said that with conflicting witness testimonies, they didn't believe there was sufficient evidence to prove that Guerrero committed a crime.
In January 2005, Perchez's mother, Cathy Olivas, filed a wrongful-death claim against the city.
On Feb. 6, AIG settled with Perchez's family, giving $825,000 to Olivas, and $175,000 to Perchez's father, Randy Perchez Sr. The amount is expected to be paid by May 10, said Olivas' lawyer, John Burton.
"No amount of money is adequate," said Burton. "But the fact of the matter is, it's a very large settlement. It's a lot of money, which reflects that it was a very bad shooting."
The shooting took place in the 14100 block of Southwood Drive after Fontana patrol and gang officers approached a group of suspected gang members. According to reports, Perchez was shot after Guerrero had attempted to handcuff him. Perchez was on the ground at the time of the shooting, according to the San Bernardino County coroner's office.
Guerrero told investigators after the shooting that he feared for his safety and did not know whether Perchez was armed. It was not clear if Perchez was searched prior to the shooting.