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News Release

Thursday, May 4, 2000

Media Relations

Armed Suspect Engages SWAT Officers in Gun Battle

Encino - On Wednesday, May 3, 2000, at approximately 4:20 p.m., Narcotics Division, Valley Field Enforcement Section detectives were conducting an investigation of a suspect wanted for parole violation, at a residence on the 17700 Block of Martha Avenue, Encino. The suspect was known to be armed and dangerous. After establishing that the suspect was at the residence, Metropolitan Division, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit was requested to respond to the location to effect the arrest.

After SWAT officers deployed at the location, the suspect, Vanulis Garafolo, was observed in the rear yard area of the residence. The suspect refused to comply with the officers' orders to exit the yard and instead, entered a camper shell on a pick up truck. The suspect suddenly fired several rounds from an assault rifle at one of the officers who was deployed south of the rear yard. Later, the suspect ran to an area, north toward the front door of the residence, while pointing his weapon at the deployed officers. In fear of his life and the lives of the other officers, Metropolitan Division Officer James McDonald, Serial No. 27620, (34 years of age, 10 years with the Department) fired his shoulder weapon at the suspect, striking him in the upper torso. The suspect was transported to a local area hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The suspect was subsequently booked at County USC Medical Center Jail Ward for Attempt Murder of a Police Officer. The suspect's AK47 Assault rifle and several other firearms were recovered at the scene.

Robbery-Homicide Division is handling this investigation. Please direct all inquiries to the Media Relations section, at 213-485-3586.