Krys Brandon RuizAge 26 (born 8 Dec 1994)
28 Mar 2021
Lompoc, California (USA)
Krys was shot dead by police in circumstances which are unclear. An attorney has called for an investigation, and the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.
An attorney is calling for the California Attorney General to investigate the March 28 officer-involved shooting of a Lompoc transgender male because of officials' alleged conflicts of interest in a letter sent to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's office and the Lompoc Police Department.
Krys Brandon Ruiz, 26, died from a fatal gunshot wound following an altercation with Lompoc Police officers minutes after they received a report of a person walking northbound on H Street with a handgun shortly after 8 p.m., according to Capt. Kevin Martin.
The case was turned over to the office of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who was the Lompoc police chief from 1995 to 2006 before becoming Sheriff.
Bill Schmidt, a Fresno-based attorney representing Ruiz's family, cited as a foundation for the request Government Code 12525.3, which deals with police shootings of unarmed people, and AB 1506, a law approved by the governor on Sept. 30, 2020, that requires a state prosecutor to investigate when police use deadly force.
"Bill Brown oversaw the recruitment and training of that city's police officers," Schmidt wrote in the April 7 letter addressed to the sheriff's office and the attorney general's office. "Sheriff Brown is not only the county's top law enforcement officer, he is also the coroner, charged with determining the manner and cause of death in this and similar cases."
Additionally, Schmidt said the Attorney General should investigate because District Attorney Joyce Dudley helped develop statewide deadly force training and has never prosecuted an officer involved in a deadly shooting.
Dudley confirmed receipt of Schmidt's letter on Friday, but did not offer comment and referred to the sheriff's office, which responded to an emailed inquiry, but did not provide comment.
Neither the Lompoc Police Department nor the attorney general's office responded to requests for comment on Friday.
An hour before the shooting, Ruiz was dropped off at his apartment by his mother after dinner, blocks away from the shooting location, according to Schmidt, adding Ruiz wasn't intoxicated or agitated.
"We don’t know what happened, whether they were trying to take him into custody for some reason, but we believe that it was virtually impossible that he had a gun, as far as we know," Schmidt said. "The reality is that the police control all of the evidence and all of the information."
Schmidt believes the shooting involved poor training standards, although he added that has yet to be seen. He filed a records request Thursday with Lompoc Police to release information about the incident, including all video recordings.
A memorial service for Krys was held on Friday 16th April. According to his obituary:
Krys faced many challenges in his short life. At the age of seven, he was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes and dealt with the daily struggles of the disease with courage and strength. Family and friends rallied around him and supported his health and wellness journey.
Krys was passionate about music and he followed many artists over the years in different genres, such as: Hip Hop, R & B, Oldies, Country, Mexican and Reggae. Krys loved to sing karaoke and would sing alone or in the company of others, many times using the popular apps Smule and Tiktok. More recently, he began to write music lyrics both serious and funny in nature. He also wrote poetry. Krys loved Demi Lovato; he knew all of her songs. He found a connection to her through her life struggles and lyrics. Krys also loved Vicente Fernandez, Los Tigres del Norte, Los Freddy's, Jenni Rivera, and Selena. Music was a special talent Krys had and he will be remembered through the many musical recordings he left behind.
Krys was blessed in life with good, solid friendships over the years. He usually bonded with those that shared his love for either music or dogs. Some of Krys' special friends are, Kira Kazianka, Bri Gusman, and Baylee Roche. They all bonded and remained close friends over the years, despite distance and time.
Krys's smile lit up any room; it was very captivating. He was known for his ever-changing hair color. Along with his love of painting his face in different ways (from clown faces to scary faces and a short emo phase) he loved wearing baseball caps, comfy t-shirts, sunglasses and creative masks.