The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on July 6, 2019. This incident happened in the city of San Bernardino and involved the San Bernardino Police Department. The shooting was investigated by the San Bernardino Police Department.

On Saturday, July 6, 2019, at about 10:14 a.m., a female victim called the San Bernardino Police Department to report her boyfriend had assaulted her at the transit center located at 599 W. Rialto Avenue, in San Bernardino.

A police officer responded and spoke with the victim, who had an injury to her hand. The victim described her boyfriend as 5’07” to 5’08” in height and wearing a white “Raiders” shirt, blue jeans, and a black baseball-style cap. She identified her boyfriend as “Frankie Lucas.”

Using his police radio, the officer gave this information to other police officers in the area in case they see the boyfriend.

An officer in the area saw Mr. Joe Dockery walking in the parking lot of a nearby Food 4 Less Grocery Store. Mr. Dockery matched the description of the boyfriend, and he was walking with a different female.

The officer was wearing a police uniform when he exited his marked patrol car to contact Mr. Dockery.

While the officer was speaking with Mr. Dockery, he wanted to complete a “pat-down” search of Mr. Dockery to ensure he did not have anything in his possession, which could harm the officer while they spoke. As the officer tried to do this, Mr. Dockery took off running from the officer.

The officer ran after Mr. Dockery. During the foot pursuit, the officer saw Mr. Dockery had a gun in his right hand. The officer drew his gun from its holster and gave Mr. Dockery multiple commands to get him to stop running and put the gun down on the ground.

A witness saw Mr. Dockery holding the gun in his right hand while running from the police officer. This witness also heard the officer giving Mr. Dockery commands, yelling something to the effect of “stop,” or “stop reaching.”

Mr. Dockery continued to run from the officer and ran around to the passenger side of a parked Mazda. When he did this, he bent down and tossed the gun under the Mazda. The officer, who was still running after Mr. Dockery, did not see what Mr. Dockery had done with the gun.

The officer continued to give Mr. Dockery commands to get down, which he refused to do. As Mr. Dockery turned away to continue to run from the officer, he lowered his hands to his waistband area. Fearing that Mr. Dockery was reaching for a weapon, the officer fired his gun three times, striking Mr. Dockery and ending the foot pursuit.

The officer handcuffed Mr. Dockery and summoned medical assistance to begin treating him for his injuries. Mr. Dockery was transported to a local hospital, where he received further medical treatment.

During the investigation, a gun was found under the Mazda. Ten cartridges were loaded into an ammunition magazine, which was inserted into the gun, with one cartridge loaded in the chamber of the gun.

Criminal charges were filed against Mr. Dockery by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office (Court Case #FSB19002346). On December 17, 2019, Mr. Dockery pled “Nolo Contendere” for being a felon in possession of a gun, which is a violation of California Penal Code Section 29800(a)(1). That section specifies:

“Any person who has been convicted of, or has an outstanding warrant for, a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country, or of an offense enumerated in subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 23515, or who is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, or has in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.”

A plea of “Nolo Conendere” means Mr. Dockery did not admit he was guilty of the crime, but he accepted to be sentenced. Mr. Dockery was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison.


The San Bernardino Police Department investigated this shooting. A review of the investigation, reports, evidence, and statements was completed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. 

Based on the facts presented in the reports and the applicable law, our office concluded that the officers’ use of lethal force was a proper exercise of his rights of self-defense and defense of others, and his actions were legally justified. 


By providing a thorough explanation to the community regarding the review of officer-involved shootings, it is the intention of District Attorney Jason Anderson and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to maintain the community’s confidence and trust in its law enforcement officers and district attorney’s office. 

Key Points of This Incident 

  • A victim had called the police department after becoming the victim of a violent crime.
  • The officers responded to initiate an investigation into a possible felony domestic violence incident and search the area for the suspect.
  • An officer located a person (Mr. Dockery) who matched the suspect’s description and was in the same general area where the crime had occurred.
  • The officer attempted to safely and legally detain Mr. Dockery to determine if Mr. Dockery was the suspect involved in this initial call for service.
  • Because Mr. Dockery was illegally in possession of a loaded gun, which was about to be found if the police officer searched him, Mr. Dockery ran away.
  • The officer ran after Mr. Dockery to legally detain him.
  • Mr. Dockery removed the gun from his clothing and held it in his right hand as he ran from the officer.
  • When the opportunity arose for Mr. Dockery to hide the gun, he placed it under a parked Mazda.
  • The officer did not see what Mr. Dockery had done with the gun, and when he continued to run from him, he saw Mr. Dockery’s hands near his waistband.
  • The officer fired his gun at Mr. Dockery for his safety, thus ending the foot pursuit.

Police officers are trained to respond to these types of situations, and they continually update their training as new situations and techniques are identified.

Additionally, police officers have equipment on their belts, vests, and vehicles, which they use to complete their duties. 

Police officers are expected and authorized to use the equipment to protect themselves and others from suffering injuries or death. To some, watching a police officer using physical force against another person can be upsetting or disturbing. 

Police officers prefer to use the least amount of force, whether it be their mere presence or verbal commands, to diffuse situations. However, there are situations, such as this incident, in which deadly force is necessary for the community’s safety and the police officers’ safety.

In rapidly tense situations, officers do not have a great deal of time planning, revising, or analyzing a crisis, such as readers of this article. When a situation evolves, officers must make the best decisions possible to protect and save lives in a condensed amount of time. 

The community expects that the people they call upon to protect them, which is the police department in this situation, will not back down, be intimidated, or run scared when danger presents itself. 

When law enforcement receives a call of a domestic violence incident, it is their obligation to respond to the scene and render immediate life-saving aid to the victims, ensure the location is safe from any further danger, and to initiate an investigation to determine the identity of the person responsible for the crime. If the situation presents itself, law enforcement will also arrest those responsible for the crime as quickly as possible. It is law enforcement’s goal to ensure the domestic violence immediately comes to an end, that the victim will be safe, and the suspect is removed from the situation.

Unfortunately, not every call is the same to the officers responding to the call. The officers may encounter different obstacles on each call and must quickly assess and render an immediate solution to overcome those obstacles. 

When searching for people, the police will encounter several of these obstacles. Those wanted for questioning may be wearing clothing that does not precisely fit the description given by the victim but is similar. Since victims of crimes do not practice estimating the height, weight, and age of other people frequently, their description of a person’s physical characteristics may not be exactly as they tell the officer.

Officers consider the totality of circumstances when determining if they should contact a person they see who matches a wanted person’s description. The “totality of circumstances” means the officer is taking into account all the facts known to him or her at the time, which would lead a reasonable person to believe the person the officer wants to contact is involved in the crime the officer is investigating.

When people who are about to be contacted by the police are committing a crime the officer has not yet discovered, such as carrying a loaded, concealed gun, they know it is highly probable they will be arrested. No one can predict what action the person will take, but running is a frequent action taken by suspects.

Running from the police while holding a gun, in a parking lot frequented by innocent members of the community, on a weekend afternoon, is reminiscent of someone who is only concerned about not going to jail and not worried about how his actions may affect others.

In this particular case, Mr. Dockery hid the loaded gun he was illegally carrying under a parked Mazda during the foot pursuit. Did Mr. Dockery lower his hands down by his waist when resuming running in an attempt to scare the officer into believing he was still armed, or possibly had another weapon in his possession? Would this cause the officer to slow down or take extra precautions to allow Mr. Dockery to get away? 

The loaded gun Mr. Dockery was carrying was ready to be used with little manipulation, or human physical action, to make it work. There were cartridges, which frequently and inaccurately are referred to as “bullets” by people unfamiliar with guns, in a magazine, which was in the gun. A magazine is a small part of the gun that holds the ammunition. It is inserted into the gun.

In order to fire the gun, a cartridge must be loaded into the chamber. In the case of a semiautomatic gun, this is done by a person physically pulling back on a portion of the gun known as a slide, which then “slides” the cartridge, or “round,” into the firing chamber. From this point, the person holding the gun merely needs to pull the trigger to shoot the gun.

Mr. Dockery’s gun was ready to be fired immediately, without pulling on the slide, should he have decided to use it against the officer, or a member of the public.

On Saturday, July 6, 2019, Mr. Dockery decided to illegally carry a loaded gun while walking in a shopping center parking lot. When being confronted by a police officer, Mr. Dockery decided to run away from the officer unlawfully.

While running, Mr. Dockery decided to remove the gun from his clothing and maintain control of the weapon by holding it in his right hand. The officer yelled at Mr. Dockery several commands, which a witness heard, and Mr. Dockery decided to ignore those commands.

Mr. Dockery made the decision to continue to hold onto the gun while he continued to elude the officer. Once Mr. Dockery felt he could hide the gun where the officer wouldn’t see it or find it, he decided to hide the gun under a parked Mazda.

Mr. Dockery could have placed his hands in the air, lay down on the ground, or stop running, which he chose not to do. Instead, Mr. Dockery decided to run from the officer again. 

Based on Mr. Dockery’s actions, the officer needed to use his gun to end Mr. Dockery’s reckless and dangerous actions.

Mr. Dockery is solely responsible for the events which transpired on that Saturday in the parking lot of a grocery store in San Bernardino.


The district attorney’s office has always reviewed Officer-involved shootings in San Bernardino County. 

Upon taking office, District Attorney Jason Anderson wanted a dedicated team of trained and experienced deputy district attorneys and investigators to review these shootings and respond to the scene of shootings. 

The review unit did not respond to this shooting scene as the new team’s design and development, and its protocols were still being developed. 

Please visit to learn more about this team. 

As the district attorney’s office, we realize the entire community is affected when force is used by the police, regardless of the situation or circumstances. Our responsibility is to ensure that all parties involved in cases such as the one involving Mr. Dockery acted lawfully.


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View San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office’ Public Release Memorandum: Joe Dockery