Redlands, CA — In response to a hostage situation at an Office Depot last week, Redlands police officers showed up and shot the victim, not the man who took her hostage.
Redlands police Chief Mark Garcia held a news conference Friday to explain his officers’ mistake.
Eleven officers fired a total of 25 rounds, Garcia said. Of the officers who fired their weapons, nine were from the Redlands Police Department and two were San Bernardino police officers.
When Andrew Mike, 29, of Downey first arrived on March 24 at Office Depot, where ex-girlfriend Kristin Bauer, 28, of Corona worked as a manager, Mike and Bauer went to his car to speak to avoid a scene. Inside the vehicle, Mike tried to kill himself by placing a gun into his mouth, but it did not fire.
Mike drove around the area. Bauer asked him to stop the vehicle several times.
At one point while driving, he fired his gun toward Bauer, striking the passenger door.
As they drove, Mike unsuccessfully tried to inject Bauer with an unknown substance. They returned to Office Depot, where Mike followed Bauer into the store. He restrained Bauer at gunpoint.
Garcia said Mike threatened Bauer’s life multiple times during the incident.
After Mike fired his weapon inside the store and struck an uninvolved party who tried to assist Bauer, Mike forced Bauer outside and held her hostage for nearly three hours.
Police tried to negotiate with Mike, but were not successful.
Mike’s gun was unable to shoot as it had jammed. However, thinking Bauer was in danger, officers opened fire. To save the hostage, police shot her.
“At the same time Kristin was wounded,” Garcia said. The bullet was from a responding officer, not Mike’s gun, which had jammed, Garcia said.
Bauer was critically wounded by the officer’s shot and flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center where she was stabilized but remains in serious condition. Mike was killed on the scene.
“At the point that police fired, they were acting on the belief that Kristin was going to be killed,” Garcia said. However, Mike did not fire his weapon which begs the question, why did police open fire?
Their quick tendency to shoot could have cost an innocent woman her life.
“After meeting with Kristin again this morning, I am encouraged by her recovery,” Garcia said. “I pray for her continued recovery, and the Redlands Police Department and I will continue to do all we can to assist her as she heals.”