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Crime Log: DA says Garden Grove officer justified in Seal Beach gas station shooting By Charles M. Kelly | Tue, Oct 22 2013 02:30 PM

The Orange County District Attorney’s office has concluded that “there is significant evidence” that a Garden Grove Police officer was justified in fatally shooting Matthew Scott Lane, 25, at a Seal Beach gas station on Dec. 1, 2012.


The DA’s Office made that conclusion public with the Wednesday, Oct. 16, release of a letter summarizing the agency’s investigation of the shooting.


According to the DA’s investigation letter, Lane was a parolee whose children had seen him burglarizing his estranged wife’s house earlier on the day of the shooting. He also had a prior history of assaulting a police officer, a fact that was broadcast to law enforcement personnel while he was being sought for the burglary.


Garden Grove, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos pursued Lane through local streets.


Lane eventually got out his car and fled on foot, until he reached the gas station car wash on Westminster Avenue. There, a driver of another car was putting gas in his tank while his two passengers stood nearby.


Lane got into the car. The car owner and one of his passengers fought with Lane. The passenger got out of the car.


By this time, Garden Grove Officer Gary Coulter had arrived at the scene. Coulter yelled, “Get away!”


The driver moved away from the car.


The driver moved away from the car.


Coulter tried to pull Lane out of the car. But Lane pulled away, twisted around and bent down toward the console. Coulter later told investigators that he felt the car move.


Lane was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:27 p.m.


On Dec. 11, 2012, Coulter told investigators that he believed Lane was going for a weapon and was “committed to getting away at all cost.”


“I fear this guy’s gonna kill me or someone,” Coulter said.


The DA’s Office concluded that Coulter believed his actions were necessary to defend himself or others and that his belief was reasonable based on the evidence.


Crime Log Compiled by Charles M. Kelly


Tuesday, October 15

Abandoned Vehicle—10:53 a.m.—Fifth Street—The caller said a car with a street sweeper citation from the previous day had not moved in two weeks. Vehicle marked.

Lost Property—12:34 p.m.—College Park Drive—The caller reported the loss of a fanny pack containing a wallet, small camera, reading glasses, etc., somewhere between Main Street and the caller’s residence. Counseled.

Wednesday, October 16

Car Alarm—12:04 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller could hear a car alarm that had been sounding for 30 minutes. Police unit 207 contacted the registered owner of the car. It turned out the battery was dead. A tow truck was en route, but dispatch was advised that the alarm might go off a couple of more times before the tow truck arrived.

Suspicious Person—10:01 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller saw a man in the ally between Sixth Street and 7th Street. The caller said the man was walking between houses and the caller said it appeared that the man was casing. Police unit M7, however, determined that the suspicious man and an other individual were house cleaners.

Arson Report—10:13 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—Someone set a trash can on fire during the night. Report taken.

Begging—10:20 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—A man was asking customers for money.

Thursday, October 17

Forgery—12:06 p.m.—Candleberry Avenue—Someone was making charges on a citizen’s PayPal account.

Vehicle Burglary—5:09 p.m.—Marvista Drive—Report taken.

Friday, October 18

Transient—10:57 a.m.—Main Street—The caller said there was an on-going problem with an individual who was apparently described as a transient sitting on a bench in front of the location. Police unit 107 apparently advised the individual to go and he said he would comply.

Fraud Report—2:16 p.m.—Main Street—The caller approved a sale last month was now being notified by the bank that it was a fraudulent card. Report taken.

Saturday, October 19

Suspicious Person—11:33 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—The caller said two individuals standing next to a white sedan were taking pictures of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach with large cameras mounted on tripods. Police unit 107 determined that they were bird watchers. No further police services were necessary.

Vehicle Burglary—Noon—First Street—The crime apparently occurred between 11:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, and 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 19. Point of entry: unknown. Loss: a CD player and sunglasses.

Sunday, October 20

Theft From Vehicle—8:49 p.m.—Lampson Avenue—Point of entry: apparently an unlocked door. The crime apparently occurred between 3 p.m. and the time of the call to police. No suspect information. Loss: property valued at about $1,000.


Tuesday, October 15

Harassing Call Report—3:32 p.m.—Northwood Road, Mutual Unknown—A citizen complained about receiving aggressive phone calls. However, there was no crime. Police unit 106 advised the woman to make her phone number unlisted, block calls from unknown numbers and not to talk to callers if she is not interested in what they are selling. Leisure World Security was present and offered to help the woman call the phone company.

Friday, October 18

Burglary Report—1:07 p.m.—Weeburn Road, Mutual Unknown—Loss: miscellaneous personal items and jewelry valued at $4,000. The crime apparently took place within the previous three weeks. Report taken.


Sunday, October 6

DUI—1:43 p.m.—Katella Avenue—The caller said an apparently drunk man was getting ready to leave on motorcycle. He was still in the parking lot and possibly going to burger place nearby. Patrol arrested him.

Suspicious Person—5:26 p.m.—Katella Avenue—The caller said a male individual, 10 to 20 years old, had been sitting on roof for 30 minutes. It was unknown how he got onto the roof. Patrol advised him to stay off the roof and he said he would comply.

Monday, October 7

Suspicious Person—12:30 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard—The caller said a man on foot was trying to sell a 40-inch television.

Wednesday, October 9

Vehicle Fire—1:10 p.m.—Walnut Street—The caller reported a car parked in a driveway and close to a house was on fire. No one was in the vehicle. The owner was hosing it down. Fire investigators responded and found it to be accidental. Patrol assisted.


Monday, October 14

Petty Theft Report—5:23 p.m.—Shakespeare Drive—The caller said a man asked to use the caller’s phone, then took off.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—10:20 p.m.—Foster Road and Walker Lee Drive— The caller thought a man was suspicious because he was riding his bicycle in the neighborhood and the caller didn’t know who he was.

Tuesday, October 15

Open Door—12:18 a.m.—Foster Road.

Disturbance—8:39 a.m.—Wallingsford Road—A father and son had a verbal dispute over the son refusing to attend school and throwing things in his room.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—9:15 a.m.—Gertrude Drive and Foster Road—A deputy looked for a man on a bike. The caller believed the man looked like a meth addict and was possibly casing the area.

Disturbance—12:45 p.m.—Hillrose Drive—The caller and the caller had an argument with the caller’s 21-year-old daughter over smoking in the house.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—5:59 p.m.—Yellowtail Drive—A deputy looked for a man that the caller had seen in the neighborhood for the previous two days. The caller said that the man was on a bicycle on Monday, Oct. 14, looking at houses as if he were casing them. Now the caller said he saw the man in a car. The caller did not want contact with a deputy.

Wednesday, October 16

Burglary Report—7:15 p.m.—Yellowtail Drive—This was apparently a residential burglary

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—7:31 p.m.—Yellowtail Drive and Silver Fox Road—The caller said a man was walking slowly down the street. The caller thought this was suspicious because the man was apparently not walking with any purpose that the caller could see.

Thursday, October 17

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—4:29 p.m.—Kensington Road—The caller reported a man in a white van parked across the street from Hopkinson Elementary School.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—6:38 p.m.—Inverness Drive and Foster Road—A deputy looked for a woman who was apparently described as a transient laying on the sidewalk with a shopping cart. The Orange County Fire Authority was not responding.

Friday, October 18

Investigate Person Down—6:41 a.m.—Bradbury Road—The caller said an individual who the caller apparently described as a transient was passed on the sidewalk and driveway in front of the location with a shopping cart full of stuff.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:20 a.m.—Montecito Road and Bradbury Road—Three different callers reported on the movements of a man pushing a shopping cart toward Montecito Road. The third caller said he was standing in the middle of the street on Kempton and Martha Ann. It is not known if this was the same individual mentioned in the 6:41 a.m. Bradbury Road incident.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—8:55 a.m.—Foster Road—A deputy looked for a car that was reportedly cruising the area.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—9:32 p.m.—Hillrose Drive—The caller said someone was just pounding on her door, but when her husband answered no one was there.

Saturday, October 19

Disturbance—1:36 a.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.

Medical Aid—5:14 p.m.—Blume Drive.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—6:14 p.m.—Bradbury Road and Davenport Road.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—10:51 p.m.—Blume Drive.

Sunday, October 20

Disturbance—12:20 a.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.

Ted Apodaca of the News-Enterprise contributed to this article.


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