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District Attorney’s Office Calls Lompoc Officer-Involved Shooting ‘Justifiable Homicide’

Knife-wielding man Michael Giles, 26, was fatally shot by a Lompoc police officer last fall

A large memorial was placed at the site where Michael Giles was shot by a Lompoc police officer. Click to view larger
A large memorial was placed at the site where Michael Giles was shot by a Lompoc police officer. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk file photo)

An investigation into a fatal officer-involved shooting of a Lompoc man last fall concluded the death of Michael Giles involved “justifiable homicide.”

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday released the results of its analysis of the Nov. 21 shooting in the 1000 block of North H Street. 

The review is based on investigative reports, evidence reports, video and audio recordings, and witness statements taken during the investigation conducted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

“The circumstances created a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury in the mind of Corporal Charles Scott,” the District Attorney’s Office report said, determining that Scott “acted reasonably in his use of deadly force.”

Shortly after 8 a.m. on the day of the shooting, Lompoc police responded to a report of a man described as “intoxicated, belligerent, and holding a bottle of alcohol” at Jet Action Coin Laundry, according to authorities.

When two officers arrived, the man fled from the laundry business and hid under a vehicle in the rear parking lot.

The 26-year-old Giles pulled a knife from a sheath on his belt and fled, crossing H Street to hide in bushes on an embankment along a bike path south of the Embassy Suites hotel.

Michael Giles Click to view larger
Michael Giles

A third officer, Cpl. Charles Scott, arrived to assist officers Onyemauche Agbodike and Robert Kifer. One had a Taser drawn while the other has a firearm drawn, according to the investigative report. 

Scott initially could not see Giles until the officer was approximately 10 feet away from the man lying face down on the ground with his upper body in the brush. 

Giles sat upright and turned toward Scott, ignoring officers’ orders to drop the knife. 

“Suddenly Giles lunged forward at Corporal Scott with the knife in his hand,” the report said. “In response, Corporal Scott fired two rounds at Giles.”

One round struck Giles in the upper right torso, the other round struck him in his right forearm/wrist area. 

“When interviewed, Corporal Scott stated that he made the decision to shoot because he felt he had nowhere to go as Giles advanced towards him with the knife,’ the report said. “Corporal Scott was worried about his position of 'disadvantage' as Giles was above him on the embankment and Corporal Scott stood on lower ground with a fence at his back.

“Corporal Scott feared Giles would seriously injure or kill him if he reached him with the knife.”

Giles was later pronounced dead by an emergency department physician at Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

Michael Giles was fatally shot by a Lompoc police officer on a multi-use trail on the 1100 block of North H Street in Lompoc Nov. 21, 2016. Click to view larger
Michael Giles was fatally shot by a Lompoc police officer on a multi-use trail on the 1100 block of North H Street in Lompoc Nov. 21, 2016. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk file photo)

Later, forensics documentation revealed Giles had a knife with a 5-inch blade. In his backpack, he carried two unopened packs of Newport cigarettes, a bottle of Crystal Palace vodka, a mason jar just under half full of marijuana, a vial of cannabidiol hemp oil, an empty wallet, a lighter, and other miscellaneous items.

Dr. Manuel Montez, a forensic pathologist, determined the first of two shots struck Giles in the ribs and lung, proving fatal.

A toxicology report showed that Giles had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.246 percent and also had THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, authorities said.

Giles’ brother Martin Giles told authorities the man was at his father’s house the night before he died, describing him as behaving belligerently and talking loudly.

When the father threatened to call police, Michael Giles reportedly responded, “If the police get called I’m going out in style”; “F--k it, I am f---ing done”; and “I am going to pull out my knife and have them shoot me.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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