"Officer Involved Shooting Occurs After Officers Appear at Scene of Armed Robbery"
Los Angeles: On November 15, 2002 at approximately 9:15 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) uniformed Officers Don Byeon (Serial No. 30929, 39 years of age, 8 ½ years with the Department) and Timothy Kim (Serial No. 27789, 35 years of age, 12 ½ years with the Department), both assigned to Wilshire Area, were assigned as Unit 7Q44. Based on information they had received at their weekly crime control meeting, they were working a robbery suppression detail in the northeast portion of the division. They were on patrol in the area of Kingsley Drive and 5th Street when they heard a single gunshot just west of their location. As they looked west, they observed a male Hispanic exit the carport area of an apartment building on 5th Street, walking eastbound toward them. Both officers exited their vehicle and drew their service pistols. They ordered the suspect (later identified as Jose Rivera, male, Hispanic, 26 years of age) to the ground. Initially, he refused to comply. As the officers were ordering Rivera to his knees, they heard two additional gunshots coming from the same carport area. Immediately thereafter, a second suspect (later identified as Armando Villatoro, male, Hispanic, 21 years of age) ran north from the carport. He was carrying a handgun in his hand. The officers ordered him to stop. As Villatoro ran westbound, he turned and pointed the handgun at the officers. Both officers were in fear for their lives and an officer-involved shooting occurred. Villatoro turned and continued running north across 5th Street, west toward Harvard Boulevard and then north on Harvard Boulevard.
Officer Byeon then focused his attention on suspect Rivera who was on his knees on the sidewalk. The suspect laid on the ground in a prone position and was subsequently taken into custody. A handgun was recovered at the scene from Rivera’s pocket.
Officer Kim proceeded westbound toward the direction he had last seen suspect Villatoro and observed a semi-automatic handgun in the street. Officer Kim then heard the victim (later identified as Yong Kap Kim, male Korean, 59 years of age) calling for help. The victim was slumped in the driver’s seat of his vehicle parked in the carport of his apartment building. He was suffering from a gunshot wound. LAFD Rescue Ambulance transported the victim to a local hospital where he was admitted and treated for a gunshot wound to the chest area. He was last listed in serious but stable condition.
Wilshire Area officers responded to the location and established a perimeter in an attempt to locate suspect Villatoro. Metropolitan Division officers, along with K-9s, responded to the scene and conducted a systematic search of the area. Villatoro was not found.
On November 16, 2002, at approximately 1:35 a.m., patrol officers assigned to Van Nuys Division received a radio call of an Ambulance Cutting at 14800 block of Erwin Street. The officers responded and observed a male, Hispanic, early 20’s, later identified as Armando Villatoro, on a gurney being placed in the rear of a LAFD Rescue Ambulance. It was later determined that Villatoro had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was brought from Rampart area by a friend to his sister’s house on Erwin Street. Two officers were assigned to accompany the rescue ambulance to Holy Cross Hospital in Foothill Division. A Van Nuys supervisor, at scene, acting on the suspicion that this person may be the outstanding suspect from the Wilshire Area officer-involved shooting, contacted Robbery-Homicide Division detectives. Detectives responded to the hospital. The suspect was determined to be the outstanding suspect from Wilshire Area. He was admitted into the hospital in serious but stable condition.
Jose Rivera was booked for 664/187 PC, Attempt Murder, and Armando Villatoro was absentee booked for 664/187 PC, Attempt Murder.
No officers were injured as a result of this incident. The investigation into this incident is ongoing and is being conducted by Critical Incident Investigation and Robbery-Homicide Divisions. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call investigators at 213-485-6475. On weekends and during off-hours, please call the Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-529-3855.
This release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace E. Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.