WALLA WALLA - Video footage was little help sorting out the facts of the burglary and shooting death of Cesar Chavira, 22, according to Edward Freyer, undersheriff for the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office.
"I looked at it this morning," Freyer said today. "It's inconclusive at best."
John Saul, owner of the New York Store, 2254 Isaacs Ave., shot Chavira during a break-in at Saul's store early Friday morning. According to Freyer, Saul fired multiple rounds from a shotgun.
An attorney for Saul, Michael Hubbard, said Saul fired the rounds after Chavira threatened to kill Saul.
"We're still doing some investigating," Freyer said, adding Saul "made a couple of brief statements" Friday before asking for a lawyer.
According to Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood, Chavira was struck in the torso area with 47 pellets of No. 4 buckshot, likely meaning he was struck by at least two separate rounds.
Freyer also said all the shells from the shotgun were found near the entry way of the store, and investigators will conduct forensics tests with the shotgun to try to determine from where the shots were fired.
According to Freyer, Chavira's body was found across the street a short distance from the New York Store near a bicycle. Officers also found a backpack containing items allegedly stolen from Saul's store. Chavira did not appear to be armed.
"This will be an interesting set of circumstances," Freyer said, adding the test for a justifiable homicide has requirements very similar to the use of deadly force for law enforcement officers.
Freyer said anyone who owns a gun for self-defense should "clearly understand what the law will allow you to do."
"I think a lot of people don't understand that," Freyer said.
According to Hubbard, Saul not only acted in self-defense, but believes there may have been another person with Chavira. Freyer, however, said the Sheriff's Office believes based on its investigation that Chavira was acting alone.
"That was one of our initial concerns," Freyer said. "We're not working on the premise that there was anybody else."
Officers also found a loaded .25-caliber pistol belonging to Saul at the store.