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District Attorney Says No Charges Against Deputy in ‘Lazer Tag’ Fatality

May 12, 1987

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) _ A deputy had reason to believe he was in danger and will not face any charges for fatally shooting a teen-ager who pointed a toy gun at him, the district attorney’s office says.

The decision Monday followed a month-long review of the April 7 shooting of 19-year-old Leonard Joseph Falcon in Rancho Cucamonga. Falcon was shot because the deputy mistook a toy light gun for a real weapon during a nighttime encounter at a school where the victim was playing a game called Lazer Tag with three friends.

According to sheriff’s reports, Falcon jumped out from behind a corner in a shooting stance. The deputy saw the flash of light from the toy gun and fired his shotgun twice, hitting the youth in the chest.

″The deputy involved was justified in believing that his life was in danger and that his self-defense required the use of deadly force,″ said San Bernardino County District Attorney Dennis Kottmeier’s office.

The teen-ager’s father, Joseph Falcon, said he was not surprised by the district attorney’s conclusion.

″No, I have no comments, because I expected just exactly what they said,″ he said.

The Sheriff’s Department on Monday identified the deputy as 30-year-old Dan’l Durrant, a six-year veteran.

The deputy has been returned to duty, but is temporarily assigned to a detectives division and is not on street patrol, said Capt. John Futscher, commander of the Rancho Cucamonga station.

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