Sacramento, California

From Sacramento’s KCRA.com of April 11, 2007

Saechin Will Not Face Criminal Charges, DA Says

Sacramento Man Accused Of Shooting Alleged Car Burglar

A south Sacramento man accused of shooting a suspected car burglar earlier this month will not face criminal charges, District Attorney Jan Scully said Wednesday.

Sou Saechin was arrested on April 4 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he confronted three suspected car burglars outside his Rock Creek Way home.

Saechin was accused of using a .22-caliber rifle to shoot one of the suspects in the chest and shooting at the suspects’ car as it fled the area. The injured 17-year-old suspect, who was identified only as J.C., is expected to survive.

The other two suspected burglars, Marco Virelas and Larry Tran, were later arrested in connection with the case.

“Under the circumstances, we do not believe a jury would find Saechin acted unlawfully in firing this first shot in self defense,” Scully’s office said in a prepared statement.

Authorities said Saechin then fired three more shots as the three suspects’ car left the area. Saechin told authorities he was not attempting to shoot any person, but was simply trying to leave a mark on the suspects’ car so the police could later identify it.

Scully’s office said the shots fired at the fleeing car appeared to be a penal code violation involving discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. These three shots did not strike the car or any person.

The district attorney’s office said that the only witnesses who saw what happened were Saechin and the suspected car burglars. Saechin is a necessary witness against the burglars, while they are necessary witnesses against Saechin, officials said.

“For this reason, it is not legally practical to prosecute both cases,” Scully’s office said in a statement. “Under the circumstances, since no one was injured by the unlawful shots (Saechin) fired as the car drove away, the district attorney has elected not to prosecute Mr. Saechin, who has no record and whose testimony will be needed to prosecute the burglars.”

The district attorney’s office said it will prosecute Virelas and Tran for the car burglary, as well as for probation violations.

Tran and Virelas both have criminal records, Scully’s office said. Tran is currently on felony probation for unlawfully carrying a loaded firearm and misdemeanor probation for giving false information to a peace officer. Virelas is on misdemeanor probation for unlawfully possessing an assault weapon. Both have additional criminal records.

Since J.C. is a juvenile, Scully’s office said it will make no statement about any prosecution he may face.

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