Contra Costa DA clears officers who killed Pittsburg man

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office announced Monday that the fatal shooting of a man by multiple Pittsburg police officers in 2018 was legally justified so the officers will not face any charges.

Officers shot Salvador Morales, 37, of Pittsburg, after he had shot his brother-in-law in the neck, held his estranged wife and baby at gunpoint and shot at police after a pursuit on Oct. 22, 2018, police and prosecutors said.

Officers initially responded to a report that Morales was holding the family members at gunpoint in the 100 block of Carolyn Drive, a few blocks from the Pittsburg Center BART station, and had shot the brother-in-law when he tried to intervene.

Morales then forced the wife and baby into his car and drove away, and police followed it to Concord and then back to Pittsburg, where he stopped in the 100 block of West 10th Street and his wife ran from the vehicle with the baby to officers waiting nearby, according to police.

In a report released Monday about the shooting, prosecutors said Morales then went into his home nearby and a standoff ensued. More than two hours later, he walked out of the front door of his home with a handgun pointed at his own head and an officer fired a beanbag round, hitting him in the upper torso.

Morales then fired a round at officers, who returned fire and shot him. He was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek and died later that night.

The report said Officer Kyle Baker, Sgt. Gabriel Palma, Sgt. William Hatcher, Sgt. Charles Blazer and Cpl. Alex McCray will not face any charges for their actions.

"The officers justifiably feared for their lives and their subsequent use of deadly force was legal and necessary under the circumstances," the report said.