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News Release

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Media Relations

Man Douses Himself with Gasoline, Struggles with Officers


Los Angeles: Just before 1:30 AM this morning, February 10, 2005, a man was reported acting strangely at the Mobil gas station at 315 W. Vernon Avenue. He had removed his shirt and was dousing it with gasoline.

When officers assigned to Newton police station arrived a few minutes later, the man failed to cooperate with officers. Witnesses reported that the shirtless man, later identified as 48-year-old Juan Rojas, grabbed one of the officers' holstered weapons. Both officers struggled with the man to retain the gun in the holster. At one point, the officer whose weapon was free, drew his weapon and shot Rojos one time in the immediate defense of both officers' lives.

Rojas was struck in the abdomen. He was taken into surgery at California Hospital. He is expected to recover from his injury.

Neither officer was seriously injured during the struggle. Witnesses present during the incident are cooperating with investigators. Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department's Force Investigation Division are conducting the investigation. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Roll-Out Team, and representatives from the Inspector General's office were also present at the crime scene. Rojas' current city of residence was not immediately available.

This news release was prepared by LAPD's Media Relations Section, which can be reached at 213-485-3586.