Los Angeles: A local gang member was shot Sunday night, after he pointed a gun at pursuing officers in South Los Angeles.
Around 8:00 P.M., January 14, 2007, two LAPD officers, assigned to the gang unit from Newton Police Station, recognized a local gang member, Adrian Gonzalez, 34, who was walking near 23rd Street and Wall Street, just south of downtown.
Police officer Leonard McKenzie, 31, and his partner were patrolling the area, which is strewn with local gang graffiti. When the officers stopped their police car to speak to Gonzalez, he ran from them holding his waistband.
As the officers chased Gonzalez, he ran up a stairway in an apartment building. At the top of the landing, Gonzalez pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it down at the pursuing officers. Officer McKenzie fired at Gonzalez, striking him in the torso.
Gonzalez was taken to California Hospital, where doctors said he was expected to survive. Neither officer was injured in the incident. Gonzalez will be charged with Assault With a Deadly Weapon on a police officer when he is released from the hospital.
Detectives from the Force Investigation Division retrieved a 9mm handgun from the top of the stairs where Gonzalez fell.
"We saw a significant rise in the number of gunfire assaults on officers in 2006," said LAPD Lieutenant Paul Vernon. "This trend illustrates the propensity for more suspects, mostly gang members, to take on the police. That’s another reason why we’re focusing on gangs, guns, and drugs this year."
Suspects fired at police officers on at least 23 occasions in 2006, compared to 16 times in 2005. Officers returned fire in less than half of those assaults in 2006. This shooting was the fifth officer-involved shooting in 14 days of the new year. Last year ended with 44 officer-involved shootings, the same number as in 2005.
Officer McKenzie is a 9-year veteran of the LAPD.