Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers is joining with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in asking any witnesses to the July 5 incident involving the Fullerton Police Department and Kelly Thomas to come forward and contact the OCDA.
The OCDA released a statement Wednesday (July 27) asking witnesses to contact the DA’s Office. The DA’s request follows-up on a similar plea for witnesses to come forward made previously by the Police Department.
The incident occurred July 5. Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said officers responded to the bus depot at 123 S. Pomona Ave. at approximately 8:30 p.m. after the Police Department had received reports that a man was trying to get into cars parked in the area. Goodrich said the suspect was described as a male transient with long hair, no shirt, and carrying a backpack.
Officers arrived at the depot and contacted the suspect, identified as Kelly Thomas, a homeless man who frequented the area. An altercation ensured between the officers and Thomas.
During the arrest, Thomas sustained serious injuries and was transported initially to St. Jude Medical Center via ambulance, and then later to UCI Medical Center via ambulance. Thomas was taken off of life support July 10.
Immediately after the incident, Fullerton Police requested the Orange County District Attorney to take over the investigation. The OCDA responded and assumed the investigation.
Chief Michael Sellers said “The Department believes it is in the best interest of everyone – the Police Department, Mr. Thomas’ Family and the Fullerton community as a whole - to have a thorough and independent investigation conducted by an outside agency. We are cooperating fully with the District Attorney’s Office in the investigation.”
Fullerton Mayor F. Richard Jones, M.D., agreed with Chief Sellers’ decision to bring the DA’s Office in to investigate the case.
“I’m sure I speak for the entire Fullerton City Council when I say how shocked I am by this incident,” said Fullerton Mayor F. Richard Jones, M.D. “As a parent, I can’t begin to imagine the pain the family of Kelly Thomas is experiencing over the loss of their son and brother, and my heart goes out to his family.
“I concur completely with the actions of our Police Department to immediately request that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the events that occurred the night of Mr. Thomas’ arrest and his subsequent death. Until that investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the situation.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Orange County District Attorney’s Office at (714) 347-8813.