Officer Involved Shooting of Armed Suspect

May 20, 2002

Los Angeles: On May 19, 2002, at approximately 4:00 p.m., a West Valley Area patrol sergeant responded to a radio call of a Grand Theft Auto suspect, armed with a knife, at Sherman Way and Corbin Street. Upon arrival, a 30 to 35 year-old unidentified male Hispanic confronted the sergeant. The suspect, brandished a sharp object that appeared to be a knife, then ran north on Corbin Street. Pursuing the suspect on foot, the LAPD supervisor requested help and broadcast the pursuit route, via his radio. The suspect ran to the 7200 block of Madora Avenue, in front of a private residence. In the interim, two LAPD West Valley Area officers responded to the sergeant’s help call and observed the suspect standing on the lawn in front of a house located on the 7200 block of Madora Avenue. The officers observed the suspect to be armed with what appeared to be a knife with a 4 to 5 inch blade. The suspect was holding the knife in such a manner as to partially conceal it along his forearm. The officers drew their service pistols and ordered the suspect to drop the knife. The suspect refused to comply and brandished the knife at the officers. The officers then observed two additional West Valley officers arrive at the scene, exit their vehicle and draw their service pistols.
The suspect then focused his attention on one of the arriving officers and advanced toward his position. The two newly arrived officers did not observe a weapon in the suspect’s hands and reholstered their pistols. Although the initial responding officers continually yelled for the suspect to drop the knife, the other officers did not hear them. As the suspect advanced on them, one officer drew his collapsible baton and struck at the suspect. The suspect struck and grasped the officer and they fell to the ground, struggling with each other. The two other officers, observing the suspect striking the officer, and fearing the suspect had possibly stabbed him, and about to stab him again, fired their service pistols at the suspect, wounding and incapacitating him. A pair of scissors was removed from the suspect’s hand and recovered at the scene. Paramedics were summoned and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect has not been positively identified at this time. The wounded officer was treated and released at a local hospital for lacerations and contusions to his head.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and is being conducted by the Department’s Critical Incident Investigation Division and Robbery Homicide Division. Investigators assigned to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office are conducting a concurrent investigation. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Los Angeles Critical Incident Investigation Division at 213-485-6475 during normal business hours. After hours, call the 24 hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).
This press release was prepared by Sergeant John Pasquariello, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.