Detective Eric Bradley, of the Lodi Police Department, was justified in using lethal force to subdue a man who assaulted a judge during a murder trial in 2009, according to a protocol report recently released by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
Bradley shot defendant David Angelo Paradiso multiple times in Department 21 of the San Joaquin County Superior Courthouse on March 4, 2009 as he was assaulting Judge Cinda Fox with a makeshift knife.
Paradiso was on trial for stabbing a young woman in the neck and killing her in 2006. A toxicology report showed he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his death.
Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms received the report on Monday.
“I’m not surprised by the findings whatsoever. I’m glad the report is out. I think (Bradley’s) actions were nothing short of heroic in the courtroom that day,” Helms said.
Helms has been involved in many protocol investigations throughout his career, and said it is important that the process is thorough and independent from other investigations.
“It is built in a way that is slow, and that’s OK because we know we got it right. We get a great product from the protocol system,” Helms said.
Paradiso was testifying on his own behalf regarding the 2006 murder of Eileen Pelt when he assaulted the judge, according to court documents.
Fox was stabbed near her throat, right shoulder and left forearm. She also sustained multiple lacerations and bruises in the attack. In January 2010 she retired on disability, saying she was too emotionally scarred to continue working.
In March 2010, she filed a suit against the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for failing to provide adequate security. The case is still pending.
The district attorney’s report outlines the incident with testimony from a variety of witnesses but does not include any specific procedural changes to security protocol. The potential changes to security are not disclosed in the interest of public safety, according to the report.
Paradiso had fashioned two triangular knives from a portion of the metal bunk in his county jail cell, according to the report. Each individual blade was about 6 inches long.
Even though corrections officers noted the rectangular hole in the bunk, they did not report it because they assumed it was done by the maintenance staff because of the straight appearance of the cuts, the report said.
An inmate whose name is not given in the report said he regularly heard a metal-on-metal grinding sound possibly coming from Paradiso’s cell during a three-week period before the attack. Although Paradiso had the highest security clearance level for an inmate, he did not go through the metal detector at the courthouse because he was shackled at his waist, wrists and ankles.
“The detector would not be able to separate the metal restraints from other metal,” the report reads. “Because smuggling into the jail is common, searches are conducted more often when an inmate returns from court rather than when he leaves for court.”
He was not searched before boarding the bus from the county jail to the courthouse.
After Paradiso attacked Fox, Bradley fired three shots at him. The first missed, while the second two struck the intended target, the report said. The third and final shot was a fatal wound that struck Paradiso in the head and exited out his neck.
Bradley received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last September for his actions. He declined to comment on the district attorney’s report.
The District Attorney was unavailable for comment because the office was closed for the day.