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Shawn Murray Oceanside
oceanside
Medal of Valor
Interests: Lieutenant Shawn Murray has been a California Peace Officer for the past 25 years. He has been employed by the Oceanside Police Department since January of 1989, serving in a variety of uniform and investigative assignments as a field officer, supervisor and manager. He is currently the Night Watch Patrol Lieutenant for Sun-Wed from 4 pm to 6 am. Lieutenant Murray has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University and is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police. In 2001 he was awarded the Department’s Medal of Valor.
Recent Activity
The Murder of Oceanside Police Officer Tony Zeppetella: On June 13, 2003, Oceanside Police Officer Tony Zeppetella was murdered by Adrian Camacho, a documented gang member. The murder occurred after Officer Zeppetella stopped Camacho for a minor traffic/equipment violation. Camacho was not known to Officer Zeppetella at the time of the stop. Camacho opened fire on Officer Zeppetella after he made contact with him at the driver’s side door of Camacho’s car. Camacho had a 9mm semi automatic in hand as Officer Zeppettela approached the car. Officer Zeppettela was struck in the neck and went down, but returned fire. He put a round in Camacho’s leg, as Camacho came at him. Camacho got over top of Officer Zeppettela, pistol whipped him, took his gun and fired numerous rounds into his upper body and extremities. He then stole Officer Zeppetella’s police car and fled the scene. Camacho drove to a residential neighborhood several miles away, abandoned the police car, and fled on foot. He quickly took refuge in a nearby house owned by his ex-girlfriend’s mother. After several hours of negotiations, Camacho walked out and surrendered to police. He was treated for his injuries and booked for the murder of Officer Zeppetella. In 2005, he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. He currently sits on death row awaiting execution. Officer Zeppettela was a 27 year old policeman with 13 months on the job and less than two months in the field on his own when he was murdered. He was attacked by a career criminal, under the influence of dope, and lying in wait with a raised and readied pistol. It is almost impossible to defense and defeat such a circumstance. On that fateful day, he faced the nightmare of all policemen: the immediate and unforeseeable violent attack of an armed and committed foe. For his part, he did all you can expect anyone to do; he reacted and fought. There is not much more you can ask or expect from anyone in this circumstance. The attack he suffered was almost impossible to defeat. He fought honorably against a dishonorable man. Lieutenant Shawn Murray was Officer Zeppettela’s watch commander. Sergeant Richard Browning was his patrol shift supervisor. Fifteen minutes after the attack over 100 police officers were on scene; twenty minutes after the attack over 150 officers were on scene. Lieutenant Murray organized the response to track down, contain and arrest Camacho. Epilogue: In the years that followed, many struggled with the events of that day. Words do not adequately describe the difficulties Officer Zeppetella’s wife, family, and many members of the department experienced after his passing. For many putting the pieces back together has been a slow and daunting process. For some the process is without end. Officer Zeppetella was shot numerous times in the upper body and extremities by Camacho. Officer Doug Batxer, Sergeant Kalen Poorman and two Marine Corps witnesses were almost immediately on scene. They put forth a valiant effort to provide life support to Officer Zeppetella. Sadly his wounds were far too severe to overcome. It’s hard to see a fellow officer brutally murdered; harder still when you physically do everything you can to keep him alive. Officer Doug Baxter went on to become a Detective. He is assigned to the Department’s General Investigations Section where he has worked a number of cold and fresh homicides and other high profile crimes. He is an excellent detective who serves to this day with honor and distinction. Sergeant Poorman went on to become a Motor Sergeant and later the department PIO. He retired a few years ago. He and his wife now run a thriving private business. Detective A.J. Dolezal was assigned the case as the lead detective. She rose to the most difficult task a detective can be given: the investigation of the murder of a fellow police officer. After the initial round of interviews and crime scene work, completed by Detective Dolezal and other OPD investigators, Detective Dolezal and District Attorney Investigator “Buck” Henry worked the case up to trial. They worked hand and glove with the prosecutor, San Diego Deputy District Attorney Dave Rubin. DDA Rubin put on an excellent case and convicted Camacho of the murder of Officer Zeppetella with special circumstances. At the penalty phase, DDA Ruben argued for and won a death sentence for Camacho. A special note of recognition much also go out to the Crime Scene Evidence Technicians who worked this case. Lead Crime Scene Technician Michelle Morgans, along with Field Evidence Technician’s (FET) Shirl Tyner, Vicki Sandoval, and Marissa Centofranchi all did exemplary work under the most demanding and horrific of circumstances. Michelle Morgans retired from the department several years later. She went on to pursue a legal career. FET Shirl Tyner went on to become the lead Evidence Technician for the City of Tustin, California, Police Department, where she still serves to this day with distinction. Vicki Sandoval and Marsissa Centofranchi have continued their careers as Evidence Technicians with the Oceanside Police Department. Both have worked many high profile cases, to include another officer murder case a few years later. Both are skilled professionals held in high regard by peers, co-workers and supervisors. Detective Dolezal retired from the department a few years after Camacho was prosecuted. Detective Dolezal went on to raise a family. DA Investigator “Buck” Henry, retired from the DA’s office a few years after the prosecution of Camacho. “Buck”, in his time, was the premier officer involved shooting investigator in San Diego County. A few years after successfully prosecuting Adrian Camacho for the Murder of Officer Zeppetella, Deputy DA Dave Rubin was elected to the San Diego Superior Court. He currently serves as a Superior Court Judge in the Southern Branch of the San Diego Superior Court. Sergeant Richard Browning continued on as a patrol and investigations supervisor for several years after this tragic event. By line and staff alike, he was considered one of the premier sergeants on the department. In fact, during the moments following the attack, with a flood of police officers pouring into the City from around the county, Sergeant Browning of his own accord and initiative, immediately commandeered a large park and routed responding units into the park to be signed in, divided into teams and deployed. This single insightful act was the linchpin for all that followed in the hunt for Camacho. Sergeant Richard Browning retired a few years ago. He currently lives with his wife, also a retired Oceanside Police Officer, on a ranch where they ranch, farm, hunt and enjoy life. Leadership: It is very difficult to experience the murder of a police officer. Those difficulties compound when the officer is under your command. If you are the boss or someday want to be the boss, you must prepare for this day long before it occurs; and hopefully it never will. Mentally, emotionally and tactically you must have thought through this circumstance and have a sense of how you will handle it in the field and how you will handle it in the hours, days and months that follow. If you fail to prepare, you will likely be overwhelmed by events. If you are overwhelmed, you will not provide the service and leadership needed in the critical moments that follow to the fallen and the living. Those under your charge deserve a leader who is calm and measured at the apex crisis. Regardless of how you feel, you must be what they need you to be in the moments that matter. That’s the job of a leader. Preparation will give you a framework to operate by, but not a blueprint. Strength of character, clarity of purpose and compassion for all who need it, will be what you draw on to successfully navigate a crisis of this magnitude. Then, when it’s all said and done, if you need help, get help. If you can’t suck it up until then, don’t take the job. You will only make things worse. Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2011 at Shawn Murray Oceanside's blog
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Sep 24, 2011