OC Sheriff Offers Detailed Account of Deadly Shooting in Lake Forest

SANTA ANA (CNS) - As part of a new policy, the Orange County Sheriff's Department today released a detailed account, along with video, of the fatal shooting of a Lake Forest woman who flashed a replica toy gun at deputies who responded to her 911 call.

Sunshine Salac, 28, was shot last June 24 in the 22000 block of Loumont Drive.

Undersheriff Jeff Hallock emphasizes in the video posted Friday to the sheriff's website that the shooting remains under investigation. A deputy-involved shooting triggers an internal probe as well as reviews by the Office of Independent Review and the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which determines whether criminal charges are warranted.

Investigators have determined that Salac called 911 about 1 a.m. to falsely report an intruder in her home, and that she and her boyfriend were hiding. The 911 call is included in the sheriff's account.

“Hi, someone just broke into my house,'' she whispered to a 911 dispatcher.

She said she was hiding in the bathroom and her boyfriend was hiding in a closet.

Salac had no connection to the address she gave to the dispatcher, authorities said.

Part of the video account includes footage from the first deputy's dashboard camera and some from body-worn cameras. The sheriff's department is working on outfitting all deputies with body-worn cameras.

Sgt. Dennis Breckner, of the sheriff's public information office, says in the video that deputies turned off lights and sirens as they approached the home so as not to tip off the intruder. He said that when the first deputy arrived, he saw a woman with a gun in her hand standing near the location where the call came from.

The video shows a deputy repeatedly admonishing Salac to drop the gun and get on the ground, and other deputies repeatedly ordering her to do the same. She turns toward one of the deputies and points the gun at him, then the deputies open fire. A couple of deputies are then seen standing over her, saying, “Do not move'' while another deputy put handcuffs on her.

An airsoft gun was recovered at the scene, Breckner said.

Sheriff's officials said they released the “critical incident video'' as part of a new policy to “foster greater public trust.''

The video, which provides commentary throughout, is meant to offer “context'' regarding uses of force that lead to death or serious injury.

“Critical incidents involving law enforcement demand the highest level of scrutiny and rightfully are a matter of public concern,'' Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “The vast majority of the men and women in this department exceed the expectations of our community every day. Critical Incident Videos will provide an opportunity to see the actions of our deputies during the most difficult circumstances law enforcement officers encounter.''

Photo: Getty Images

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