Cleared of Wrongdoing: Officers in 2022 and 2023 Police Shootings Justified, Says DA

Two separate reports issued by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office on May 28 have cleared police officers involved in two fatal shootings in Simi Valley and Oxnard.

These investigations into the incidents that occurred on April 28, 2022, and March 12, 2023, respectively, concluded that the officers’ actions were justified. The DA’s office routinely responds to officer-involved shootings with a 24-hour on-call team to ensure thorough and independent investigations.

Oxnard Officers Fend Off Pipe Attack

In Oxnard, a 60-year-old man named Adam Barcenas was shot and killed after allegedly attacking police officers with a metal pole.

Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Leija, along with two DA investigators, conducted an extensive investigation into the incident, which occurred at around 6 a.m. near the intersection of Fourth and A streets.

Barcenas had allegedly swung a 5-foot steel pole at the officers, prompting Oxnard Police Officer Shayn Schwartz to fire his weapon.

The 28-page report by Leija detailed Barcenas’ erratic behavior leading up to the incident. Witnesses reported hearing Barcenas shout profanities and anti-police slurs as he advanced on the officers.

Body-worn camera footage, autopsy reports, and statements from ten witnesses were reviewed, painting a picture of Barcenas’ agitated state and aggressive actions.

Barcenas, who had been residing at the Oxnard Rescue Mission since 2014, had recently been involved in several troubling incidents.

Days before the shooting, he had been cited for resisting arrest after battering a nurse and attempting to assault an officer at Saint John’s Regional Medical Center. Additionally, he was believed to have attacked a woman with a metal pole at a bus stop, although he was not cited for this incident.

The investigation concluded that Barcenas posed a significant threat to the officers, with Officer Schwartz fearing for his life and the lives of others present. The report stated that Barcenas’ actions and verbal threats indicated his intent to harm the officers, justifying the use of deadly force.

Cleared of Wrongdoing: Officers in 2022 and 2023 Police Shootings Justified, Says DA

Simi Officers Engage in Gun Battle

In the Simi Valley case, Derrick Padilla, a murder suspect, was shot and killed by police during a gun battle. Padilla had allegedly killed his wife in Los Angeles on April 27, 2022, before fleeing to Simi Valley.

The following day, after carjacking his sister, Padilla was found walking near Simi Auto Spa and Speed Wash. When confronted by Simi Police Officer David Maupin, Padilla drew a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver and pointed it at the officer.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Thomas Dunlevy reviewed the incident, which involved a rapid exchange of gunfire. Officer Maupin, fearing for his life, fired several rounds at Padilla, who also fired his weapon.

During the confrontation, Officer Daniel Stradling provided cover fire with a rifle. The entire shootout lasted about 15 seconds, with both officers returning fire until the threat was neutralized.

The investigation included reviewing body-worn camera footage, witness interviews, and other evidence. The DA’s report highlighted that Padilla had expressed suicidal thoughts earlier in the day, telling a convenience store clerk that it might be the last time he spoke to his father.

This context, combined with Padilla’s actions during the confrontation, supported the officers’ decision to use deadly force.

The DA’s report concluded that the officers acted reasonably and necessarily under the circumstances. Padilla’s actions posed a clear and imminent threat to their safety, justifying their response.


The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office has thoroughly investigated the police-involved shootings in Simi Valley and Oxnard, determining that the officer’s use of deadly force was justified in both cases.

These detailed reports, supported by witness statements, body-worn camera footage, and other evidence, underline the necessity of the officers’ actions in responding to immediate threats.

The findings aim to provide transparency and clarity regarding these tragic incidents, ensuring public trust in the justice system’s handling of such critical events.

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