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MARTINEZ , Calif. -- Contra Costa County prosecutors had no firm evidence that the Martinez man who killed a police officer and a woman while trying to hunt down his estranged wife had made previous threats against the wife in violation of a restraining order, District Attorney Robert Kochly said Tuesday.
Kochly spoke one day after relatives of Felix Sandoval's wife expressed outrage that he had not been charged in connection with what they called a pattern of threats, some of which his wife had reported to police.
Kochly said Sandoval, 49, who was killed by officers who responded to his rampage Saturday, had been the subject of three reports that police submitted to the district attorney's office since July 2007. That was the month his wife, Margarita Sandoval, 48, filed for divorce and got a restraining order against her husband, saying she feared for her life.
In each case, Kochly said, prosecutors did not find conclusive evidence that Felix Sandoval had threatened his wife.
Kochly also said that even if prosecutors had been able to bring the cases to court, Felix Sandoval's alleged violations were not serious enough to put him in jail for an extended time. In one instance, he said, Margarita Sandoval told police she did not want her husband to be incarcerated.
In all likelihood, the district attorney said, Felix Sandoval would still have been free Saturday, the day he fatally shot Martinez police Sgt. Paul Starzyk, 47, and Catalina Torres, the 44-year-old cousin of Margarita Sandoval, after he showed up at his wife's hair salon.
Before he died, police said Tuesday, the mortally wounded Starzyk got off the shot that killed Felix Sandoval, potentially saving more lives at the salon.
Most of Felix Sandoval's contacts with his wife that led to her complaints to police "had to do with him trying to deal with their intertwined finances," Kochly said.
The estranged couple owned a lot on Pacheco Boulevard in Martinez that includes several residences and Margarita Sandoval's hair salon. They were negotiating a split of assets in their divorce case, records show.
"If everyone had a crystal ball and could see what people intend to do, obviously we could know when to take certain actions," Kochly said.
He added, "Unfortunately, the system can't protect everyone in these situations."
The restraining order prohibited Felix Sandoval from harassing or threatening his wife. He had to stay 100 yards away from her and was barred from contacting her, except for "brief and peaceful" talks related to custody of their 15-year-old son.
Violating the terms of a restraining order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail.
Margarita Sandoval - who has declined interview requests through family members - made her first complaint to Martinez police Nov. 7.
According to Kochly, she reported that her husband had asked her during a telephone call to sign papers releasing ownership of a home in Mexico, and told her he would take their son away from her if she didn't cooperate. Police called Felix Sandoval, who denied making any threats.
"It just did not meet the standard for filing a charge as a single incident," Kochly said.
Call from Mexico
Then on March 29, Margarita Sandoval told police her husband had called her from Mexico seeking proceeds from the couple's rental units.
"She said that he said he wished she was down there so he could take care of her. She apparently took that as a threat," Kochly said. "She was asked if she desired prosecution against him for violating the restraining order, and she responded that she didn't want him to go to jail."
Authorities were unable to reach Felix Sandoval to ask him about the call, Kochly said.
Then, on July 10, Felix Sandoval showed up at his wife's business, Elegant Hair Design, and told her he wanted her to go to a Wells Fargo bank with him to sign papers relating to a credit line they had, Kochly said. Margarita Sandoval refused.
"Her adult daughter was there at the time," Kochly said. "She stepped in between them and told him, 'She's not going with you.' He walked out the door."
Kochly said prosecutors hadn't filed charges because "there were no threats reported of any kind."
Suspected of using meth
In a fourth incident later in July, police said, Felix Sandoval was arrested on suspicion of violating the restraining order by visiting the salon as well as on suspicion of being high on methamphetamine.
He had a single bullet on him at the time, police said, and paid cash to bail himself out of jail. The restraining order barred Felix Sandoval from having guns or ammunition.
Kochly said police had not yet turned over the case to prosecutors when Felix Sandoval went on his rampage Saturday. Martinez Police Chief Tom Simonetti said officers had not completed their investigation and had been awaiting results from a test of Felix Sandoval's blood.
Killed by dying officer
More details emerged Tuesday of Felix Sandoval's attack, including heroic actions that Starzyk took even as he lay dying.
Armed with a revolver, Felix Sandoval had broken a glass window and jumped into the salon. His wife hid in a locked bathroom with a manicurist and a customer, police and customers said. When Felix Sandoval tried to get inside, the manicurist told him his wife wasn't there.
The gunman threatened to kill his 25-year-old daughter as she pleaded with him to stop, then ran to an apartment behind the salon, where he apparently believed his wife had gone. In fact, Torres, who worked as a hairstylist at the salon, and a customer had run there to seek help from the tenant, who had three young children.
Sandoval shot and kicked in the front door, police said, before he shot Torres in the face as she crouched between a refrigerator and a stove.
Starzyk was shot moments later in the chest, just above his bulletproof vest, when Sandoval poked his revolver out the front door of the second-floor unit. Starzyk, mortally wounded, and another officer returned fire, hitting Sandoval.
Sandoval kept shooting until a third officer arrived, released a dog that bit him and then shot him. But Simonetti said an autopsy on Sandoval showed that the fatal shot had come from Starzyk's AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
Funerals and funds for victims
Sgt. Paul Starzyk: A service will be held at the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, at 11 a.m. Thursday. To donate to a memorial fund benefiting Starzyk's wife, a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy, and their three young children, call 925 228-7550, ext. 855. Checks can be sent to Contra Costa Federal Credit Union, 1111 Pine St., Martinez, CA 94553. The account is the Starzyk Family Memorial Fund, Account No. 57950-00.
Catalina Torres: A service will be held at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Martinez, 1125 Ferry St., at 2 p.m. Friday. To donate to a scholarship fund honoring Torres at Diablo Valley College, where she tutored math students, call 925 685-1405. Send checks to the Diablo Valley College Foundation, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. The memo line of the check should read, "Catalina Torres Scholarship Fund."