Last Sunday afternoon, a Highland Police Department shot and killed an 18 year old woman inside a house, after responding to a domestic disturbance, police said. The officer fired twice at the young woman, after she approached him with a steak knife and he was in fear for his life, police said. However, many people in the Inland Empire are asking, how could Ginenne Stover who stood 4’11 at the time of her death, with so much to live for, be shot down without any warning?
James Tate, who is the vice-president of Universal Nursing Inc. said Stover was at the top of her class, when she graduated from a nursing assistant program last December. “She had a lot of talent and everything to live for,” he said. She was happy at what she was doing, and was an asset to the community she served, he said. Tate had instructed all his students to put back into their communities, and Stover had enthusiastically done just that. “Ginenne was a genuinely pleasant person. Her middle name was Joy,” he said. She was recommended by him, as a prospective student at the Loma Linda Medical Center School of Nursing, one of four students out of 150, who received that distinction.
In a press release, the San Bernadino Sheriffs Department, which contracts its services with Highland and other cities in the county, said that Stover had been arguing with her boyfriend and his mother called police. The argument had already been resolved, when a police officer accompanied by an Explorer Scout who was on a ride-along came to the house. While the officer was talking to the boyfriend, Stover approached him with a knife, police said. The officer discharged his weapon twice, hitting Stover in the upper portion of her body. She died at the scene. Her boyfriend then ran to the lawn, distraught and was pursued by the officer who placed him in handcuffs. In the press release, Stover is listed as a suspect of P.C. 245 Assault with a Deadly Weapon, but she's the one that is dead, killed by an officer with a gun without warning.
Police later removed all the knives from the kitchen and ripped out the telephone which was believed to have been struck by an officer’s bullet, sources said.
Tate challenged the actions of the officer involved. “She was so small, so petite,” he said. “I can’t understand how a physically fit officer with a gun, nightstick, pepper spray and even back up had to resort to deadly force,” he said.
The Sheriffs Department is conducting two investigations, one criminal, one administrative to determine whether the acts committed by the officer were criminal, or whether they violated departmental policy.
The shooting is the second in the Inland Empire in as many weeks. On March 10, Dante Meniefield was shot to death in an abandoned apartment with his hands raised, by a Moreno Valley Police Department officer, Robert Marks. Weekly rallies have taken place in the city of 150,000 to demand that justice be done, that Marks and his partner Dion Davis be fired, and that Marks be charged with committing a crime, by Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask.
“I went to City Hall to tell them that some day you won’t just hear my voice, but many voices,” she said. She had lobbied City Hall for many months before the fatal shooting, about the mistreatment of people in the Edgemont community by the police officers, particularly Davis who had been assigned as a Community Officer Problem Solving officer for the past eight years.
After numerous phone calls, the councilman in the Edgemont district, William Beaty has not responded. “Being a fire fighter is a 24 hour job,” a representative from his office at City Hall said, explaining that he was at his job.
Marks has returned to his job from paid administrative leave, but has been assigned outside Moreno Valley. The officer who shot Stover is currently under administrative leave, “until he is ready to return to work and perform adequately,” Chip Patterson, a Sheriff’s spokesman said.