Los Angeles: Since Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers have been involved in five separate Officer-Involved Shootings.
On March 16, 2021 around 4:40 p.m., Southwest Area officers responded to a call of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon suspect who had fired a gun. The LAPD Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) responded, along with a crisis negotiation team. During the incident, the suspect shot a SWAT officer twice, resulting in an Officer-Involved Shooting. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. A loaded shotgun and pistol were recovered at scene. The officer struck by the gunfire was hospitalized for his injuries and is expected to survive.
On March 16, 2021 around 5:20 p.m., Southeast Area officers responded to a call of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon. The suspect was inside of a residence and armed with a knife. The officers used a less lethal device against the suspect during the incident. As the suspect was forcing his way into the victim’s room, an Officer-Involved Shooting occurred. The suspect was struck by gunfire and is expected to survive. During the investigation, two knives were recovered at scene.
On March 17, 2021 around 12:15 p.m. an off-duty LAPD lieutenant was in Hollenbeck Area when he observed suspects inside of a vehicle. The lieutenant saw a passenger in the vehicle shoot a victim standing on the sidewalk. As the suspects drove in the officer’s direction, an Officer-Involved Shooting occurred. It is not believed that the suspects were struck by the gunfire, and they fled the scene. The victim who was shot by the suspects was transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive. There were no other injuries.
On March 19, 2021 around 3:40 p.m., a Rampart Area sergeant was flagged down by a community member due to a suspect being armed with a hammer and what was believed to be a hatchet. Additional officers met with the sergeant, formulated a plan, and attempted to detain the suspect. Officers used less lethal devices, but they were not effective. The suspect threw a hammer and then a metal claw-like device at officers, resulting in an Officer-Involved Shooting. The suspect was struck by gunfire. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. During the investigation a hammer and a rock-climbing type device were recovered at scene.
On March 19, 2021 around 7:00 p.m., Hollenbeck Area officers conducted a traffic stop. As officers approached the vehicle, the driver backed his vehicle towards officers and sped away, leading officers on a short pursuit. The pursuit ended when the suspect’s vehicle collided into a home. The suspect exited his vehicle with a handgun, at which time an Officer-Involved Shooting occurred. The suspect was struck by gunfire and is expected to survive. A handgun was recovered at scene. There were no other injuries.
Reverence for human life is the guiding principle in the Department’s use of force policy. De-escalation, the use of alternatives, and utilizing time remain of critical importance. The Department recognizes that five Officer-Involved Shootings in a one-week period is highly unusual. Each incident will be investigated and evaluated separately, based on evidence gathered including statements of witnesses and the involved officers as well as body-worn video. The Department will provide individual critical incident community briefing videos for each instance in the coming weeks as information is gathered. Once the investigations are completed, the Chief of Police will provide his findings and recommendations to the Board of Police Commissioners who will render the decision regarding whether the use of deadly force was in or out of policy.
Over the last six years the Department has successfully reduced the number of Officer-Involved Shootings by 44 percent, with 48 in 2015 compared to 27 in 2020. Additionally, the number of fatal Officer-Involved Shootings decreased from 21 in 2015 to 7 in 2020, a 67 percent reduction. The last two years represent the lowest number of Officer-Involved Shootings in more than 30 years. The Department is committed to ensuring the safety of the public as well of its officers in each encounter and strives to eliminate the use of force whenever possible.