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News Release

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Media Relations

Cedar Sinai Hospital; Scene of Officer-Involved Shooting

"Cedar Sinai Hospital; Scene of Officer-Involved Shooting"


Los Angeles: Today, at approximately 4:05 a.m., an officer-involved shooting occurred at Cedar Sinai Hospital, when a 39 year-old violent male patient attempted to stab another patient as that patient was lying in bed.

On March 19, 2002, at approximately 3:55 a.m., two uniformed officers assigned to Wilshire Community Police Station, received a radio call to respond to Cedar Sinai Hospital, regarding a male patient who was acting in a violent manner, threatening the safety of others. The officers responded to the location and were directed to the 4th Floor of The Theodore E. Cummings Family Patient Wing of the hospital. Two additional units (four officers) also responded to the location to assist. The officers were met by the hospital’s security staff, who advised that the suspect, a patient at the location, was acting in a very violent manner and threatening the safety of others at the location. The suspect had removed a fire extinguisher from the wall and entered the room of another patient on the 4th Floor. Using the fire extinguisher, the suspect smashed a window of the room and pick up a large piece of broken glass, threatening to do harm to the patient who was lying in his bed, helpless.

The officers formulated a plan to safely take the suspect into custody. Officer Thomas Mace repeatedly negotiated with the suspect, requesting that the suspect let the patient go and disarm himself. The suspect refused to comply and instead became increasingly agitated, threatening to kill the patient. Faced with a hostage type situation, and in an attempt to take control of the situation and minimize the potential for injury to the patient and the suspect, Officer Fernando Chavez (31 years old, 6 years with the Department) used a less-than lethal device [commonly referred to as the bean bag shotgun] and fired rounds at the suspect in an attempt to control him. This action had no apparent effect on the suspect. Instead, the suspect became even more agitated, threatening to harm the patient/victim who was lying in the bed. Standing over the patient, the suspect with the large broken glass in his hands, raised it in an attempt to stab the victim. Officer Thomas Mace (43 years old, five years with the Department), fearful that the suspect was about to cause grave bodily injury to the helpless patient, fired rounds at the suspect from his Department-issued service pistol, striking the suspect in his upper torso. The victim was removed from harm’s way and the suspect was transported, by hospital staff, to a separate location within the confines of the hospital, where he underwent surgery. The suspect is currently listed in guarded condition.

The victim/patient was not injured. No officers were injured.

The investigation into this incident is on going and is being conducted by investigators assigned to the Department’s Robbery Homicide Division and Critical Incident Investigation Division. Additionally, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office is conducting a parallel investigation into this matter.

This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.