LAPD Officers Rescue Baby from Mother Armed with Knife NR09452pv

September 15, 2009

Los Angeles: This morning, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers rescued a 4-month-old baby from her mother who was frantically waving a steak knife along 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

"What so many people don’t realize is that officers do these things every day," said Lt. Paul Vernon, who heads up the LAPD Central Detective Division. "The public rarely hears about the cases where everything goes right, no one gets hurt and the suspect is apprehended."

The incident started around 8:35 AM with a report of a "woman with a knife, holding a baby."  She was on the north sidewalk of 7th Street, west of Hope Street. "The officers arrived quickly and contained the woman," Vernon said. "They had a number of options from pepper spray to tasers, but the first thing they did was talk to the woman.  As Officer Chris Green distracted her, Officer Arthur Gonzalez grabbed the woman’s arm and took the knife, while Officer Clinton Popham grabbed the baby.  It all happened in a matter of seconds."

The baby girl was not hurt and appeared to be well cared for, but she was taken to the hospital for examination as a precaution.  The child will be cared for by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

The child’s identity was not clear as the woman would not speak.  Detectives released photos of the child to aid in identifying her and for anyone to come forward with information about the mother and child’s recent history.

The mother, 33-year-old, Malika Johnson, was booked for endangering a child. She had at least three prior arrests for child endangerment since 2004.

Officer Green, who is 45 years old, has over 19 years with LAPD; 26-year-old officer Arthur Gonzalez has been with LAPD three years; and officer Popham, who is 40, has 11 years with the Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 24-hour Information Desk at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text "Crimes" with a cell phone or log on to and click Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with "LAPD." Tipsters may remain anonymous.
The following photos of the child were taken and released by LAPD.  The officer holding the baby is Clinton Popham.  Officers Green, Popham, and Gonzalez will be available for interview at Central Station between 11:45 AM and 12:45 PM.