Deputy Pleads Not Guilty in Airman's Shooting

A sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted voluntary manslaughter in the videotaped shooting of an unarmed serviceman after a high-speed car chase.

Deputy Ivory J. Webb, who fired three shots into Senior Airman Elio Carrion on Jan. 29, surrendered voluntarily and was arraigned before San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith.

Webb spoke only briefly in responding to the judge's question about waiving his right to a speedy preliminary hearing.

"Yes, your honor," said Webb, who came to court in a suit rather than his uniform and sat with hands folded during the brief arraignment.

Webb, 45, is the first peace officer in San Bernardino County history to be charged as the result of an on-duty shooting. He could be sentenced to as much as 18 1/2 years in prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Michael Schwartz asked for bail to be reduced to $50,000 on grounds that his client was not a danger to the community and was not a flight risk, but the judge set it at $100,000.

Webb, who has until 4 p.m. Friday to be booked and to post bail, left with his attorney through a side door without comment to reporters.

In announcing the charge on Tuesday, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said that Webb believed "he was doing what he needed to do" at the time of the shooting.

"In our legal analysis that was unreasonable," Ramos added.

The shooting was videotaped by a bystander and broadcast on national television.

It followed a brief high speed chase in which a Corvette carrying Carrion, who had just returned from military duty in Iraq, crashed on a residential street in Chino, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles.

Prosecutors also charged the Corvette driver, Luis Escobedo, with felony attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly and misdemeanor driving under the influence. He also was to surrender Wednesday and faces up to 3 1/2 years in prison if convicted.

The videotape shows Carrion, 21, lying on the ground outside the Corvette after the crash, exchanging words with Webb as the deputy points a gun at him. After what sounds like an order to "Get up," Carrion begins to rise and is shot in the chest, shoulder and left thigh.

The district attorney's office, aided by the FBI and a company that analyzes tapes, reviewed the video a number of times and there was no indication that Webb said anything other than "Get up," Ramos told reporters.

"Not once did anybody in the DA's office hear Deputy Webb say, 'Don't get up,"' he said. "We all heard, 'Get up."'

The case against Webb, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, includes special allegations of infliction of great bodily injury and use of a firearm.

A former college football player at Iowa and son of a former Compton police chief, Webb has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. A sheriff's internal investigation is continuing, along with an FBI inquiry.

Carrion, assigned to a security unit at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La., was hospitalized for several days after the shooting and was then released to recuperate at home.