Friends and family of the San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy who opened fire on an Air Force security officer in a video-recorded shooting described the deputy Thursday as level-headed and “by-the-book.”
Deputy Ivory John Webb, a standout football player at Carson High School who also played for the University of Iowa, entered law enforcement in the long shadow of his father, a respected former police chief in Compton.
“He very much admired his father—how his father was perceived and respected in the community, and how he was a great dad,” said Keith Chappelle of DeSoto, Texas, longtime friend and former Iowa teammate of Webb. “He wanted to be just like his dad.”
Webb, 45, now finds himself in the spotlight after shooting Senior Airman Elio Carrion, a passenger in a car involved in a high-speed chase in Chino on Sunday night.
The shooting was recorded by a witness and has been broadcast repeatedly by television news stations. The raw graphic images have come under intense public scrutiny, and Webb’s actions have been harshly criticized by experts in the use of force by police.
Webb has been placed on paid administrative leave as a result of the shooting. Carrion, 21, remains hospitalized in good condition.
Sheriff’s officials said Thursday that Webb had spent more than 10 years in the department, serving as a jailer at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga and, most recently, as a patrolman based in the sheriff’s Chino Hills station. Webb’s only promotion came in 2001, and he has not received any of the department’s most common awards, officials said. They declined to elaborate on Webb’s service record.
The shooting is being investigated by the sheriff’s homicide division, and the FBI is reviewing the case to determine if any civil rights violations occurred.
In the digital recording, the deputy at one point appears to tell Carrion, who is sprawled on the street and appears cooperative, to “stay on the ground.” Seconds later, the deputy appears to tell Carrion to “get up, get up.” When the airman begins to rise, Webb fires three times.
Meanwhile, Carrion’s father, Helio Carrion of Montclair, said that at the very least Webb should “lose his badge.” He said his son cannot walk right now because of the gunshot that struck the 21-year-old in the left leg. Carrion also was shot twice in the chest.
“It’s unbelievable that he stayed alive. That guy shot him too close—it was close to hitting his heart,” Helio Carrion said. “I thank God [Elio] had an angel with him.”
His father fought back tears when discussing the video: “I’m angry, I know [the deputy] did wrong.”
In 2001, Webb was one of several San Bernardino County deputies named in a federal civil lawsuit alleging the use of excessive force against an inmate at the West Valley Detention Center. The jury in that case ruled in favor of the officers and cleared Webb, who had been accused of failing to stop a fellow deputy’s misconduct.