Just 48 hours after her son was shot to death by Huntington Beach Police, Angela Hernandez was standing in the very spot he died. By her side was Orange County attorney Michael L. Guisti, who announced that wrongful death charges would be brought again the Huntington Beach Police Department.
The tragedy took place last week at the Huntington Beach Sports Complex at about 7:30 in the evening. Ms. Hernandez’s son, 29-year-old Steven Schiltz, who was homeless and had a history of mental illness and substance abuse, was reportedly acting in a threatening manner toward adults, parents, and their children who were playing softball or at soccer practice. There were nearly 200 adults and children at the Complex at 18100 Golden West Street that night, and eyewitnesses report that Schiltz was chasing people with a broken bottle and possibly a stick or baseball bat. Two soccer coaches were very concerned about the safety of their 11-year-old players and began lifting them over to the other side of a six-foot-high fence. Huntington Beach Police arrived and told Schiltz to drop his weapons. The fatal shooting occurred when Schiltz cornered a woman by the bleachers and raised the bottle as if to strike her. Witnesses say a volley of shots rang out and Schiltz went down, but was still moving. Police fired again and he was dead.
Ms. Hernandez feels Huntington Beach Police used excessive force on her son, who was obviously not acting rationally. This isn’t the first time law enforcement officers have resorted to lethal force when dealing with a mentally ill person.
If you’ve lost a loved one to excessive force at the hands of the police, you might deserve compensation. But police departments are notorious for denying culpability, not accepting responsibility for their actions. To get the compensation you deserve, you need to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. Mr. Guisti has been representing Orange County police brutality clients for over 17 years and has won many verdicts. Just recently, he got a client who was facing life in prison exonerated. Call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti today for a free consultation, at (888) 478-8999.