OXNARD, Calif. – The mother of a 26-year-old woman shot and killed by an officer during a domestic dispute Saturday criticized Oxnard police and said her daughter seemed fine earlier that night.
Meagan Hockaday was shot about 1 a.m. Saturday by Officer Roger Garcia after she charged at him with a knife, according to police. The woman’s fiancé, Luis Morado, 28, had called 911 to report a domestic dispute and ask police to respond to their apartment.
Hockaday’s mother, Monique Wallace, of Oxnard, said in an interview Wednesday that her daughter and Morado had dinner and watched movies at her house earlier that night.
“They were at my house all night and they were just fine,” Wallace said, adding that she couldn’t speculate on what Hockaday and Morado argued about later when they went home to their Vineyard Avenue apartment.
She described her daughter as “timid, sweet and giving.” She also said Hockaday was “tiny” and that the “trigger-happy” officer did not need to fire his weapon to subdue her.
Wallace said witnesses told her Hockaday did not know a police officer was there when she turned around with a knife in her hand and was shot by Garcia.
“He didn’t bother to pull out a stun gun or pepper spray, he just drew for his weapon,” Wallace said.
“That cop has ripped our family to shreds,” she said.
Hockaday’s three young daughters were in the home when the shooting occurred, but were in another room, police said. Wallace said Hockaday also is survived by two sisters, aunts and uncles, and a niece and nephew.
In the 911 call, Morado told the dispatcher that Hockaday was under the influence and hit him. Wallace did not comment on the call.
Wallace said Garcia “should have been fired” after his involvement in a Feb. 5, 2014, shooting of Rosa Guillen.
“They’ve allowed him to do it again and now my child is dead,” Wallace said, adding that she has spoken to attorneys and community activists about the incident.
Garcia, an eight-year veteran of the force and its 2011 Officer of the Year, was one of two officers who fired their weapons after responding to a report of a suicidal woman at Del Sol Park. Guillen, whom police said brandished what was later determined to be a replica handgun, survived. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office has not yet released its investigation of that shooting.
Oxnard Assistant Police Chief Eric Sonstegard said Wednesday that Garcia was deemed fit to return to duty last year after speaking to a psychologist and had additional arms training, which is standard after an officer is involved in a shooting. He is now on administrative leave again.
Sonstegard said only three adults — the couple and the officer — were present during Saturday’s shooting. He described the couple’s apartment as small and said the incident unfolded quickly.
“Hockaday advanced on both of them with a knife — that’s what we’ve been able to gather from our investigation,” Sonstegard said, and the officer felt threatened.
The Oxnard Police Department will complete a probe of Saturday’s incident, which then will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, which also will investigate. Both probes are standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
Oxnard police also will conduct an administrative investigation to determine if those involved followed department rules and regulations.