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Kern DA: OIS in Downtown Bakersfield justified

Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 16:13:39-04

Officials with the Kern County District Attorney's Office ruled on Friday that a Bakersfield Police Officer's shooting of an armed suspect in Downtown Bakersfield last November was justified.

On November 29, 2015 a group of people had been evicted from the Padre Hotel for causing a disturbance. 

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Armed man dies after being shot by police near Downtown Bakersfield restaurant

At 2:03 a.m., several ambulances were called, and the police were also called to stop the fighting. Just before officers arrived, one member of the group called to Hugo Celio, "get the heat." Celio was observed by one civilian witness retrieving a firearm from a car near the hotel.

Officials say that two Bakersfield Police Department officers arrived on scene in two separate patrol cars in response to the call for help. Both officers were in uniform, with marked patrol cars that had emergency lights on.

Officer Mosqueda's attention was directed by security to a vehicle that was fleeing the scene with several members of the group.

Officials added that BPD Officer Bishop remained, and security pointed to two men across the street that they claimed were the main instigators of the fight. As Officer Bishop got out of his car and approached them, one of the men (Celio) fled on foot.

Officer Bishop told Celio to stop twice, but he refused and continued to run.

Celio ran around the Downtown Deli located across the street from the Padre Hotel, and made his way back towards the Padre Hotel through an alley (Wall Street). Officer Bishop, still in pursuit, closed in on Celio after he slipped and fell in the alley.

Celio sat up, pulled out a firearm, pointed at Officer Bishop (now within 10 feet and closing). Officer Bishop ordered him to drop the weapon and Officer Bishop began to reach for his own weapon.

Officials added that Celio shot at Officer Bishop. Having been caught by surprise, Officer Bishop was completely exposed without cover in the alley. Celio's shot missed, but Celio continued pointing the firearm at Officer Bishop as he moved away from Celio.

Officer Bishop, with Officer Mosqueda now behind him, was unsure if either of them had been hit by the first shot, was worried about being shot at again, and in order to protect his life and his partner's life, returned fire. Celio was struck twice by the retum fire and died.

The Coroner determined Celio received two gunshot wounds—one to his right arm and another to the lower abdomen which was fatal. A toxicology test of Celio revealed his blood alcohol content to be a .07%. It also showed that Celio had cocaine in his system. 

There were several civilian witnesses that observed the above events.

Three civilians saw Celio pull the gun on the officer and shoot first. Several more civilian witnesses did not see Celio's gun, but saw his arm extended towards the officer, heard a gunshot, saw the officer step away.

Officials added because Officer Bishop's life was in danger, The DA's office ruled the shooting justified.