Redmond police chief responds to ex-officer not being charged in 2020 shooting

Aug 7, 2023, 7:18 PM | Updated: 7:24 pm

A Redmond police vehicle...

A Redmond police vehicle (Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

A former Redmond police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 39-year-old woman who called 911 for help in 2020 will not face criminal charges and the department’s chief of police has responded.

Officer Daniel Mendoza shot Andrea Churna in the hallway outside her apartment during the evening of Sept. 20, 2020. An attorney for the Churna family says she was lying facedown on the floor when she was killed.

Last month in a publicly released memo, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s Public Integrity Team recommended no criminal charges be filed against Mendoza or any other officer present during this incident.

“Under the circumstances, as they appeared to be to Officer Mendoza, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of deadly force was not necessary and not in good faith,” the memo read.

Redmond’s chief of police releases a statement

In a press statement Monday, Redmond Chief of Police Darrell Lowe acknowledged “mistakes occurred” the night Churna called for help.

“As a result of the multiple investigations, we have refined our policies and procedures to align with industry best practices,” Lowe said in the news release. “These include access to additional less-lethal options, implementing a body-worn and in-car camera program, and increasing mental health resources.”

As The Seattle Times notes, Mendoza was just 18 months out of the academy when the shooting occurred and had previously been fired for poor performance by another law-enforcement agency in the state of Washington. He declined to cooperate with a King County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the shooting.

The city of Redmond ultimately paid $7.5 million last year to settle a wrongful-death claim from Churna’s family.

More from Redmond: Police department launches crime data dashboards

Lowe explained that Mendoza was put on paid administrative leave following the incident. He separated from the department last October.

Churna’s family has asked the state Office of Independent Investigations to review the case.

“While nothing can bring Ms. Churna back, we are continuously striving to improve the quality of service our first responders provide our Redmond community in order to prevent another tragic loss of life,” Lowe said in the release.

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Redmond police chief responds to ex-officer not being charged in 2020 shooting