"Attack on Officers Results in Officer-Involved Shooting"
Hacienda Heights: On October 12, 2002, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers assigned to Southeast Community Police Station, were on patrol in the area of 115th Street and Compton Avenue when they observed a male, in a red older model Toyota MR-2, drive by them in a reckless manner, with the vehicle tires screeching. The officers followed the individual to the Nickerson Gardens Housing Project, where he brought the vehicle to a stop and exited. The individual began acting in a strange and erratic manner. Residents in the area, including someone representing herself as the individual’s mother, came to the location and advised the officers that the individual was on drugs. Refusing to heed the instructions of the officers, the male got back into the vehicle and left the location, driving in a reckless manner. Believing that the suspect was under the influence of drugs, the officers attempted to stop the suspect. The suspect refused to stop his vehicle and instead, engaged the officers in a high-speed pursuit, which ended in the 15800 block of Novak Street in the City of Hacienda Heights.
At the termination of the pursuit were officers Alfred Gonzalez (Serial No. 31813, 32 years old, 7 years with the Department), Eiji Yamamoto (Serial No. 33142, 33 years old, 7 years with the Department), Scott Burkett (Serial No. 33217, 33 years old, 6 years with the Department) and Ernest Berry (Serial No. 33007, 36 years old, 6 years with the Department).
NOTE: These were not the officers who originally encountered the suspect. These officers became involved in the pursuit after the original units were forced to disengage.
The officers repeatedly verbalized to the suspect to exit the vehicle but he refused to comply. Employing the use of a less than lethal device, a beanbag round was fired through the window of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect then exited the vehicle, carrying a glass candelabra in his right hand and waving it in a threatening manner. The suspect refused to heed the orders of the officers to stop. In an effort to gain control of the suspect, Officers Burkett and Yamamoto fired beanbag rounds at the suspect. The suspect, apparently not affected by the beanbag rounds, instead continued behaving in a bellicose manner. He began screaming and simultaneously charged directly at Officer Gonzalez with the candelabra in one hand and the other hand hidden behind his back.
Officer Gonzalez, who was positioned behind the door of the police vehicle, became fearful for his own safety. Officer Berry was also fearful for Gonzalez’ safety.
Both officers fired rounds from their service pistols, striking the suspect in the torso. The suspect, a male in his mid 20’s, was transported by paramedics to a local hospital where he is being treated for his injuries. The candelabra was recovered at the scene. The investigation into this incident is being conducted by Critical Incident Investigation Division and Robbery Homicide Division.
Please direct all further inquiries regarding this incident to Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586. This release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section.