Stabbing Charges Dropped against 19-Year-Old Student after Self-Defense Claim

Via Public Domain Pictures
Public Domain

By Vy Tran

LOS ANGELES,CA — Charges against a USC student in the death of Xavier Cerf will be dropped after witness accounts and other evidence supported a claim of self-defense, announced Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón this week, noting the investigation for this case is ongoing under the Los Angeles Police Department.

The accused claimed he acted with the actual and reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to protect himself and others from the imminent threat of being shot by Cerf, according to the District Attorney’s Office, that maintains the use of deadly force under these circumstances was “both proportionate and objectively reasonable.”

On June 17, security video footage captured Cerf, 28, allegedly breaking into a vehicle outside of the accused’s USC fraternity residence at approximately 8 p.m., according to police. As reported from the DA’s office, the accused, 19, and two other witnesses heard the vehicle’s alarm going off from inside their building and went outside to investigate.

According to the residents, there had already been several previous break-ins at their house and other nearby property. Cerf was found in a car belonging to one of the accused’s roommates, according to the facts of the case.

From the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office report, as the men approached the vehicle, the accused “was armed with a knife while another witness carried a large wooden stick” as “one of the witnesses called 911 to report the break-in and remained on the phone with the dispatcher.”

Footage in addition to corroborating testimonies showed the accused and witnesses approaching the vehicle and asking Cerf to exit. “After a few seconds, Cerf opened the car and announced that he had a gun while simultaneously reaching for his waist as if he were reaching for a gun, according to (the accused) and witnesses,” stated the DA office report.

The report concluded: “As Cerf reached for his waist, (the accused) grabbed Cerf’s hands with his left hand to prevent him from pulling out the alleged gun. During the struggle, (the accused) stabbed Cerf a total of four times. Cerf walked away from the car,” while the accused and witnesses returned to their residence and waited for officers.

“After careful consideration and a thorough review of all available evidence, we have decided not to pursue charges,” District Attorney Gascón said. “We believe that (the accused’s) actions were driven by a genuine fear for his life and the lives of others. Our heart goes out to the deceased’s family, friends and everyone impacted by this tragic incident.”

About The Author

Vy Tran is a 4th-year student at UCLA pursuing a B.A. in Political Science--Comparative Politics and a planned minor in Professional Writing. Her academic interests include political theory, creative writing, copyediting, entertainment law, and criminal psychology. She has a passion for the analytical essay form, delving deep into correlational and description research for various topics, such as constituency psychology, East-Asian foreign relations, and narrative theory within transformative literature. When not advocating for awareness against the American carceral state, Vy constantly navigates the Internet for the next wave of pop culture trends and resurgences. That, or she opens a blank Google doc to start writing a new romance fiction on a whim, with an açaí bowl by her side.

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