Armed Robbery Suspect, Responsible for Thirty-Five Robberies, Dies in Shooting with Police

June 13, 2003

"Armed Robbery Suspect, Responsible for Thirty-Five Robberies, Dies in Shooting with Police"
Los Angeles: A suspect armed with a handgun and responsible for 35 armed robberies in the San Fernando Valley was shot and killed by detectives. Detectives from LAPD’s Special Investigations Section were working on information that the suspect, identified as 36 year-old Craig Lee Smith, was a suspected robber. Detectives followed Smith to a Van Nuys area Taco Bell. Smith walked into the restaurant and demanded money from the clerk as he displayed a handgun. After he left the restaurant detectives verified that Smith did try to rob the establishment, but became impatient and left without the money. Detectives notified their partners who then followed Smith to the IHOP restaurant located at Haskell Ave and Ventura Blvd. Smith backed his white sports utility vehicle into a parking spot in the rear area of the parking lot. Detectives positioned their vehicles so that Smith could not escape. The detectives identified themselves as police officers and ordered Smith to raise his hands. Smith refused to comply and pointed a handgun at detectives. Detectives fearing that they were about to be shot, fired their weapons at Smith, striking him.
Paramedics responded to the location and pronounced Smith dead.
A handgun was recovered from Smith’s SUV.
No Detectives were injured.
The investigation into this incident is on going and is being conducted jointly by Robbery-Homicide Division and Critical Incident Investigation Division.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Art Miller, LAPD Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.