Los Angeles: A resident of a board and care facility in Highland Park attacked a Los Angeles police officer with a screwdriver after two officers answered an emergency call around 2:30 in the morning. The officer’s partner shot the man, who later died at a local hospital.
The incident unfolded Sunday morning, February 11, 2007, at the Fair Oaks Manor, a residential treatment center for adults with mental and developmental disabilities, located at 5035 Echo Street. Staff members called 9-1-1 around 2 AM and reported 24-year-old Francisco Mondragon was threatening others with a screwdriver.
Police officer Ivan McMillan, 29, and his partner, confronted Mondragon as he stood on the porch of the board and care, holding a screwdriver. The officers tried to reason with Mondragon and convince him to drop the weapon. Mondragon turned and ran into the building, posing a potential threat to persons inside. The officers followed Mondragon indoors, where he turned and charged Officer McMillan’s partner.
As Mondragon stabbed the screwdriver at the officer’s chest several times, Officer McMillan fired three times in defense of his partner, which stopped the attack. Mondragon later died from his wounds at the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.
“The officers were confronted with any officer’s worst nightmare, a hand-to-hand fight with an armed suspect,” said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. “Thankfully, the officer’s ballistic vest stopped the screwdriver from causing any serious injury, but it could have been much worse, as ballistic vests are not designed to protect against edged weapons.”
While neither officer was seriously injured, the officer’s uniform shirt was torn in the attack.
Last year, LAPD officers were assaulted 769 times by suspects, compared to 969 times the year before. Officers were involved in 44 shootings at suspects in 2006, the same number as in 2005. Officers were shot at 23 times in 2006, compared to only 16 times the prior year.
Sunday’s shooting was the ninth officer-involved shooting this year. Two officers have already been wounded by suspects’ gunfire this year, compared to a total of three officers wounded for the whole of 2006.
Officer McMillan has nearly five years with the LAPD. He and his partner are assigned to the Northeast Police Station.