The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on April 28, 2016. This incident happened in the city of San Bernardino and involved the San Bernardino Police Department. The San Bernardino Police Department investigated the shooting.


On April 28, 2016, at about 8:40 pm., police officers from the San Bernardino Police Department’s Multiple Enforcement Team (“MET”) were on patrol in the area of Foothill Boulevard and Meridian Avenue. This area was known for recent gun violence and was also known to be the “Five-Times” gang territory.

Two police officers, Officers Ahmed and Olvera, were wearing green police uniforms and in an unmarked Toyota Camry. Two other officers, Officers Saenz and Hysen, were in their police uniforms and a marked police vehicle.

While on patrol, Officers Ahmed and Olvera saw three African-American males near the dead-end of 5th Street. They called on Officers Saenz and Hysen to check these subjects.

Officers Ahmed and Olvera turned east into the north alley of 5th Street. They saw the subjects walking toward a cement wall at the rear of the Terrace Motel, whose front is located on Foothill Boulevard.

As Officer Olvera, who was driving the Camry, turned south into the driveway leading back to 5th Street, the subjects jumped over the block wall. Within seconds, the police officers heard gunfire and saw muzzle flashes from the direction of the subjects. The driver’s side window of the Camry shattered.

The subjects attacked Officers Olvera and Ahmed. Officer Olvera attempted to drive in reverse, but the Camry was disabled. Officer Ahmed exited the passenger side door of the Camry and began shooting his firearm at the subjects.

Officer Olvera climbed over to the passenger seat. As he did so, he activated the forward-facing red light and siren on the vehicle. The subjects fired more rounds at the Camry.

Hearing the gunshots, Officers Saenz and Hysen turned into the motel’s west driveway and went to the rear of the motel. They saw the subjects along the wall, facing Officers Olvera and Ahmed. Officer Saenz believed he saw the subjects holding weapons, and both officers saw muzzle flashes coming from the male subjects.

Officer Saenz moved closer to the subjects and turned his vehicle, so the markings on the vehicle were visible to the subjects, thus indicating they were police officers.

The subjects ran east and into a field on the north side of the motel. Officer Saenz ran to the west of the location and saw one of the subjects running southeast through the field, holding a firearm.

Officer Saenz identified himself as a police officer to this subject and ordered him to drop his firearm. The subject turned his shoulders clockwise and raised his right arm. The firearm was in the subject’s right hand, which he pointed towards Officer Saenz.

Officer Saenz fired his firearm, and the subject went down to the ground. The subject, referred to as “GB,” had suffered a gunshot wound to the right hip. GB had five .380 caliber rounds in his pockets.

Officer Hysen saw another subject running through the field and towards the San Bernardino Motel parking lot. Officer Saenz ran to that area as well and saw John Wayne Phillips banging on doors. Police officers were able to take Mr. Phillips into custody safely.

Officers learned that GB lived at 2504 W. Foothill Boulevard, Unit 134. The officers went to that location and saw a vehicle approaching the unit. Driving the vehicle was the father of GB and LB. Officer Saenz identified LB as the third subject involved in the shooting. LB was arrested safely by the police officers.

Police officers found a .380 caliber handgun during a search of the field where GB was shot during daylight hours.

9mm and .380 caliber bullet casings were found by the wall where the subjects had been standing during the shooting. A box of 9mm casings was found by a tree, which was near the wall.

During an interview with GB, he admitted to being a member of the Five-Times gang. He admitted to firing the .380 caliber firearm at the Camry, believing it contained rival gang members. He identified John Wayne Phillips as the shooter who used the 9mm handgun and a subject named Onoria Mejia, another shooter who used a .357 revolver during the attack of the police officers.

Due to JB being a juvenile, we cannot disclose any criminal charges he may have incurred due to this incident.


The San Bernardino Police Department investigated this shooting. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office completed a review of the investigation, reports, evidence, and statements pertaining to this incident.

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

  • Police officers were patrolling an area plagued with gun violence
  • Two police officers were in an unmarked police vehicle to allow them to watch for illegal activity without being identified as the police
  • Subjects were seen loitering in an alley and to the rear of a business
  • Police officers drove into the alley to approach the subjects to determine if they were involved in any criminal activity
  • The subjects attacked the police officers by shooting at the police officers with handguns
  • The police officers defended themselves by shooting back at the subjects
  • One subject stopped his attack after being struck by an officer’s bullet
  • The remaining subjects were taken into custody without incident

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 who are protecting them will not back down, be intimidated, or run scared when danger presents itself.

In this particular incident, the police officers were in one of the most highly-used passenger cars purchased within the United States, the Toyota Camry. The mere fact that the officers were inside this vehicle, without the traditional paint, markings, and exterior equipment of a typical police vehicle, does not alleviate the suspects’ culpability for their actions. Rather than containing police officers, a family or innocent person could have been in the vehicle traveling in the alley when the suspects decided to shoot their firearms at the vehicle.

Whether it was police officers, a rival gang member, or a family, the suspects, JB and John Wayne Phillips, are responsible for this incident.

On April 28, 2016, the suspects decided to be in the alley behind the motel, armed with handguns. The suspects chose to carry additional ammunition, with one having rounds in his pocket and a box of ammunition at the base of a tree near where this incident took place.

Without considering the public’s safety, the suspects chose to fire their weapons at a vehicle driving into the alley. Even after a red light and siren were activated in the vehicle they were shooting their handguns at, the suspects chose not to stop their violent attack.

The suspects continued to fire their handguns at the police officers and their vehicle. Once additional police officers approached the suspects during their attack, the suspects decided to run away from the scene.

JB decided to shoot at a police officer who had told him to stop running. JB chose to raise and point his handgun at the police officer. The police officer fired his firearm at JB, causing JB to fall to the ground after being struck by a bullet.

The other suspects decided to run from the officers and the scene as well. They were eventually taken into custody by the officers.


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, development, and 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 JB and John Wayne Phillips acted lawfully.


KPCC – 3 Arrested After Shooting At San Bernardino Police




View/Download San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Public Release Memorandum: John Wayne Phillips