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News Release

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Media Relations

Officer Involved Shooting Follows Domestic Incident


Los Angeles: On Tuesday, April 22, 2003, at approximately 6:35 P.M., two Los Angeles Police Department officers assigned to Pacific Area responded to a "Domestic Violence/Ambulance Shooting" radio call at a residence in the 8300 block of Westlawn Avenue, Westchester. Upon arrival at the location, the officers were advised, via their radio, that the suspect had shot his wife and that he would put the gun down and exit the residence. One of the officers, using his vehicle’s PA system, directed the suspect to exit the residence. When there was no response by the suspect, the officers requested Communications Division personnel to contact the suspect and instruct him to exit the residence. The operator informed the officers that, according to the suspect, he had placed his gun on the bed inside the residence and was going to exit the rear door of the residence.

The officers tactically deployed. One of the officers observed the suspect exit the rear door to the residence. The suspect walked down the driveway toward the front of the residence carrying a handgun in his right hand. That officer ordered the suspect to drop the gun and raise his hands. The suspect failed to drop the gun but raised his hands above his head. The officer alerted his partner (the second officer), who could not at that time see the suspect from his position, that the suspect was carrying a gun and walking toward the front of the residence. The initial officer continued to order the suspect to drop the gun, however, the suspect did not comply and continued to walk toward the front of the residence. As the suspect came into view of the second officer, he had his hands still raised over his head with the gun in his right hand. The second officer began to order the suspect to stop and drop the gun. The suspect, who did not comply, looked in that officer’s direction and continued to walk toward the officers stating words to the effect, "I shot my wife; kill me."

The second officer repeatedly ordered the suspect to stop and to drop the gun. The suspect continued to ignore the commands and instead, walk in the officers’ direction. The suspect then, while looking at the second officer and still holding the gun over his head, pointed the gun at that officer. That officer (Officer Leo Lussier, Serial No. 32964, 32 years old, 7 years with the Department) in fear for his safety fired one round from his Department-issued pistol at the suspect. The suspect screamed and bent down, still holding the gun. Officer Lussier again ordered the suspect to drop the gun. The suspect did not comply and began to straighten himself. Officer Lussier, fearing that the suspect was about to re-position himself to fire at them, fired a second round at the suspect. The suspect at that time fell to the ground and was taken into custody. The suspect was struck once in the mid torso area. The suspect was subsequently transported to USC Medical Center where he was treated for a gunshot wound and booked for 187 P.C. (Murder). The suspect’s wife was pronounced dead at USC Medical Center as a result of the gunshot wounds she incurred.

The suspect has been identified as 85 year-old Ralph Siegel, a male White. His gun, a .22 caliber semi-automatic, was recovered at the scene. On-going investigations into this incident are being conducted by Robbery Homicide and Critical Incident Investigation Divisions.

This release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section.