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Martin Hernandez

Martin Hernandez

Reported by Orange County Register

ANAHEIM – A makeshift memorial with flowers, candles, balloons and graffiti marks the spot where Martin Angel Hernandez was shot and killed by an Anaheim police officer.

Family and friends gathered Wednesday to mourn the 21-year-old father in an alley in the 100 block of East Wakefield Avenue near Haster Street.

The block wall in the alley in the 100 block of East Wakefield Avenue has become a message board of condolence and loss after Martin Angel Hernandez, 21, was fatally shot there by an Anaheim police officer. Police have not commented on what led to the shooting, but Anaheim police Sgt. Robert Dunn said a shotgun was found near the man’s body.
“I know he is in a better place and probably wants everyone to remember the good times we had with him,” Hernandez’s half-sister, Yuliana Rincon, said. “He is in a better place now.”

The shooting happened after officers responded about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday to reports of five or six males in the alley, at least one of whom was seen with a firearm, Anaheim police Sgt. Robert Dunn said.

A patrol officer shot one of the males about 15 minutes later, Dunn said. The man, later identified as Hernandez, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police returned to the area Wednesday afternoon, when a growing crowd of 85 to 100 mourners drew complaints from neighbors.

Dunn said about 10 officers put on ballistics helmets after they were met with “verbal resistance” from the crowd but worked with several mourners to calm the group.

No arrests were made, and no physical confrontation took place, Dunn said.

Police were preparing to leave the area as the crowd began to diminish about 7 p.m. but said officers would return if they received more complaints. Dunn said a “considerable amount” of graffiti had appeared in the area since the shooting.

“He didn’t deserve this,” said Hernandez’s stepfather, Isaias Rincon.

Isaias Rincon said he rushed to the scene of the shooting and then police drove him to the Anaheim Police Department where detectives asked him questions about his son, his friends and his lifestyle.

According to Orange County Superior Court records, a man matching Hernandez’s name and date of birth has had some run-ins with the law.

In 2008, Hernandez pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal threats and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years’ probation. In June 2009, he pleaded guilty to felony petty theft and participation in a criminal street gang. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.

In January 2010, Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and one felony count of street terrorism. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison. In September, he was charged with misdemeanor contempt of court and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years of probation, court records show.

Yuliana Rincon said her brother was released from jail in December and was trying to turn his life around.

“He was trying to better his life and was looking for a job,” she said. “He wanted to be part of his son’s life and he would tell us he was going to change because he wanted a better life for himself.”

Police have not commented on what led to the shooting, but Dunn said a shotgun was found near Hernandez’s body.

“At this time, it does not appear the suspect fired his weapon,” Dunn said.

Yuliana Rincon said her brother didn’t have a firearm and according to witnesses, he was running from police when he was shot.

No officers were reported injured.

After the shooting, police and Orange County sheriff’s deputies with bloodhounds set up a perimeter in the area as they searched for at least one other person who was with Hernandez, Dunn said. Police did not know if that person was armed.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident, as is customary with officer-involved shootings. The Anaheim Police Department is also carrying out an investigation.

There have been four officer-involved shootings in the city this year. In 2011, there were four.

Hernandez is survived by his nearly 3-year-old son, Zahid, six sisters, two brothers, his mother and stepfather.


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