During opening statements in the murder trial of former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Henry Solis, his attorney raised new allegations that the deceased had previously attacked Solis and contended that the off-duty officer acted in self-defense.
Solis is accused of shooting to death truck driver Salome Rodriguez, Jr., 23, in an intersection of downtown Pomona in the early morning hours of March 13, 2015, after both had gone out clubbing.
The prosecution told jurors security camera videos recorded much of the encounter when Solis approached Rodriguez on the sidewalk, pushing him repeatedly as they moved 900 feet from the initial locations until it ended in gunfire.
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But no video camera recorded the shooting itself.
Beyond anger, prosecutor Martha Carrillo did not ascribe a motive to Solis, then 27, a Marine Corps veteran in his fourth month on patrol at LAPD's Devonshire Division.
But Solis defense attorney Bradley Brunon told jurors Solis set out to find Rodriguez after he followed Solis into a restroom several hours earlier, struck him from behind, knocked him to the ground, and took money and a pistol.
Solis was shaken and thought he could resolve the incident on his own without reporting it, Brunon said. He told jurors shortly before Solis fired, Rodriguez charged him and knocked him to the ground and that Solis was in fear of his life.
The defense said Solis will testify during the trial.
During the prosecution's opening, Carrillo told jurors Rodriguez went to the Carnaval nightclub to see a go-go dancer with whom he had become infatuated. Brunon asserts that at one point in the night, unnoticed by the friends he was with, Rodriguez left to go briefly to another club, Vive, not far away where Solis was spending the evening.
That is where Brunon said the bathroom incident occurred.
After the shooting, the off-duty officer's car was located several blocks away at 3rd and Main Street. Carrillo told jurors they will hear from the housemate he called early that morning to take him home.
"'I (expletive) up. I'm going to kill myself. I killed somebody,'" Carrillo said the housemate would testify she heard Solis say.
As a rookie employee without job protection, Solis was fired by the LAPD after he failed to report for duty and disappeared.
Trial has been delayed, among other reasons, after Solis changed attorneys.