The family of Vincent Valenzuela III, a homeless man with mental health conditions, ended life support a week after an incident with Anaheim police left him in a coma. Drawing eerily similar comparisons to early reports on the Kelly Thomas fatal beating by Fullerton police, Valenzuela died 5 years to the day Thomas passed away from his injuries.
What exactly happened to Valenzuela in the parking lot of a West Anaheim 7-Eleven on July 2 remains elusive. Anaheim police remain tight-lipped, only saying that they received a call that morning about a suspicious man following a woman to her home and that they “activated” a Taser, although they still won’t say if they used it. “Valenzuela engaged the officers in a physical confrontation, and while the officers were attempting to take him into custody, he went into medical distress,” the department’s press release claimed.
Anaheim police policy guidelines allow Chief Raul Quezada to provide files from digital audio recorders worn by officers to the media. The Weekly requested those related to the Valenzuela incident, but chief Quezada hasn’t responded as of press time. We also contacted 7-Eleven’s corporate office, only to be declined on the grounds that solely law enforcement may obtain videos and statements without a court ordered subpoena.
Valenzuela, a 32-year-old father of two, reportedly had been able to move his extremities earlier last week but worsened over time, finally being unable to breathe without the help of a ventilator. With no hope of coming out of the coma, the family decided on pulling the plug around 2:45 p.m. today at West Anaheim Medical Center, where he’d been hospitalized.
The Valenzuela family has retained the legal services of Garo Mardirossian, an attorney who handled both the Kelly Thomas murder and civil trial. A press conference is being prepped for tomorrow in Los Angeles.
No word yet on funeral services for Valenzuela.