Police chief: Officer Justin Quenga never should have been charged
It’s a tough job that can be deadly. The Guam Police chief responding to the recent news that his officer is cleared of all charges in connection to the gas station shooting in Dededo that claimed the life of one man.
The dismissal of the case comes one year after the deadly incident. And today, the top brass confirms the internal affairs investigation shows the same results – that Officer Justin Quenga should have never been charged.
Officer Quenga can continue to protect and serve without criminal charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide hanging over his head. A Superior Court of Guam judge recently dismissed the charges without prejudice at the request of the Attorney General’s Office.
Police Chief Stephen Ignacio said, "I am glad to hear that the attorney general decided to drop the charges against Officer Quenga and not pursue the indictment that was handed down by the previous grand jury."
Officer Quenga responded to the Shell gas station off Route 1 in Dededo on March 9 of last year. It’s there witnesses say Iopy Rudolph was targeting people with a slingshot. Witnesses told police Rudolph was drinking alcohol and refused to get out of his car before he revved his engine and hit Quenga twice.
Quenga opened fire and shot Rudolph.
Attorney General Douglas Moylan stated, “The Shell gas station manager who witnessed the shooting even stated and would have testified that Officer Quenga acted in self-defense.”
He continued, "That is actually in line with our Internal Affairs findings. Officer Quenga was also, with the administrative investigation, cleared and we believe the investigation showed that his actions were justified and the use of deadly force was in line with our policies and procedures and the situation that unfolded and that he was presented with at the time."
Quenga is now fully cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting. "Unfortunately, the job of police officers at times to use deadly force, which may result in the loss of life, but at the expense of human life we are also protecting the community at large and their lives who are put at risk," said the chief.
Ignacio also offered this message to Rudolph’s family: "We extend our deepest condolences to the family and this is not something police officers wake up and want to do. It’s just unfortunately a part of what we swear an oath to in order to keep our community safe."
In the meantime, AG Moylan stated this case should never have been charged, adding, “My job is not only to root out bad law enforcement officers, but also to protect those officers who act within their authority in protection of others in situations that many of us would never want to face.”