Taito death investigation sent to DA

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 5, 2013 

The Los Banos Police Department has completed its investigation into the July shooting death of a teen and forwarded the findings to the Merced County district attorney's office.

Also in the hands of the DA is the California Department of Justice report into the shooting of 17-year-old Bidal Taito. Police said that report was received Friday.

Harold Nutt, chief deputy district attorney, said his office has no specific time frame on when a decision will be made on whether to press charges, "but it will probably be soon."

Nutt said the reports are being reviewed by multiple officials in his office.

"We frequently have others look at it when it's an unusual case," Nutt said.

Taito died at a Modesto hospital hours after collapsing from a gunshot wound in an alleyway near the 100 block of West K Street on July 20. Police said they responded to an emergency call from a male resident reporting someone was attempting to kick in his door. Moments later, he told the dispatcher that he'd shot the person and needed help. He shot through his wood door, police said. Taito was struck in the back.

Law enforcement has not identified Taito's shooter, saying only that the person is a relative of a former employee of the Los Banos Police Department.

The state DOJ worked with police to re-create the scene of the shooting.

The Merced County district attorney's office will decide whether to pursue charges, however the Police Department makes the decision on whether there's cause for an arrest. The two agencies have been working together on the case and, according to Nutt, it is not unusual for his office to decide charges will be filed before an arrest is made.

Last week, the Rev. Mychael Williams, who is assisting the Taito family, said relatives and friends of the slain teen are anxiously awaiting a decision. Taito's loved ones have staged several protests in the seven weeks since the teen's death. Williams said it is a way to keep Taito's death in the public's consciousness.

Williams said anything less than an arrest will be unacceptable for the family. He said Taito's friends and family have spoken with the shooter's neighbors and concluded that the story given to police is inaccurate.

Williams said attorneys have been contacted on the family's behalf and are prepared to seek legal action if police decide not to make an arrest.

Police Chief Gary Brizzee could not be reached for comment.

Enterprise Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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