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Widow Files Lawsuit Against Stockton, Police Officer after Man Fatally Shot in 2008

STOCKTON -- The apartment that Melecio Arquinas Jr. and his wife called home no longer stands, in its place sits a simple wooden cross.

Now his family is left with heartache after they say the 30-year-old man was killed by Stockton Police.

“If they handled that situation way more better, ‘cause that situation was just terrible, my brother no doubt he’d be alive today,” said Rey Arquinas, Melecio Arquinas' younger brother.

His brother said he was protective and loving.

“Video games was a really big thing with us so that was pretty cool. Just pretty much a good, protective brother,” Rey Arquinas said.

His sister-in-law, Melecio Arquinas' widow, has filed a civil claim against the City of Stockton and Officer John Hernandez.

According to court documents, Melecio Arquinas went to investigate a noise in his backyard on South Sutter Street in Stockton in December of 2008.

“I heard, ‘He got a gun, he got a gun,’ immediately followed by gunshots,” Rey Arquinas said.

Those gunshots, attorneys say, came from Officer Hernandez, who thought Melecio Arquinas was going to shoot his coworker as they were trying to arrest a teen car thief.

“There was no warning, there was no warning towards my brother at all,” Rey Arquinas said.

The family argues the three officers should have talked to Melecio Arquinas before they used deadly force. Rey Arquinas also claims law enforcement mistook Melecio Arquinas for being Latino.

“I feel like there was a big language barrier is when I heard someone say, which was the cop now, ‘Abre la puerta,'” Rey Arquinas said.

FOX40 reached out to the Stockton Police Department. They did not want to comment due to pending litigation.

FOX40 also spoke to Melecio Arquines’ parents off-camera. His mother said she is heartbroken and it still hurts her to this day. It’s been almost ten years since his older brother died and while it’s been painful, Rey Arquines said he just wants officers to be better trained.

“It’s like it just keeps on digging at me and I want to leave it alone," he said. "But at the same time I want something to be done about this because it's not right.”

The civil case is set for trial in April.