Man Threatens Officers with Knife after Leading Them on Pursuit NR10280kr

May 25, 2010

Officer-Involved Shooting Occurs as Suspect Hurls Knife at Police

Los Angeles:  A man who led police on a pursuit from downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley crashed his car on the 101 Freeway and emerged from the wrecked vehicle wielding a large knife.  He then injured an officer before being fatally shot by police.

Yesterday, just before 1 a.m., Police Officer Carlos Ayala, a 13-year, 7-month veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and his partner were working patrol in the Hollenbeck Area when they saw a man driving a Mercedes Benz 300E Sedan speeding past them, driving erratically and committing several traffic violations.  Believing the driver, later identified as Andrew Caprio, was possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Officer Ayala and his partner attempted to make a traffic stop to investigate further.  However, Caprio refused and led them on a pursuit that extended through Los Angeles, South Pasadena, Monrovia, and back into the City of Los Angeles. 

Near the end of the pursuit, Caprio drove westbound on the 101 Freeway.  As he approached the Van Nuys Boulevard off-ramp, he failed to steer through a curve in the freeway and hit the guard rail, causing his vehicle to spin out of control.  He then hit the center divider and another vehicle traveling in the same direction.  Both cars eventually came to rest in the fast lane of the freeway adjacent to the Van Nuys Boulevard off-ramp.

Officer Ayala and his partner positioned their car near Caprio’s, along with a back up unit consisting of Officer Jeremy Wagner (2 years, 10 months with the Department) and his partner. As the four Officers were getting out of their vehicles, Caprio also emerged holding a large knife.  He then focused his attention on one of the officers, and as he began to throw the knife at the officer, Officer Ayala simultaneously fired one round from a Department 12-gauge shotgun while Officer Wagner fired a shot from his .40 Glock duty weapon.  

The officer whom Caprio was attempting to strike with his knife suffered an injury as he attempted to block the knife’s impact.  A short time later, the officer was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released.  Caprio was struck by gunfire and also transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The LAPD Force Investigation Division is investigating the incident.