Officer Uses Warning Shot to Disperse Unruly Mob NR10331rf

June 29, 2010

Los Angeles:  A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer fired a warning shot into the air to disperse a hostile group of people whose activities were rapidly escalating into acts of violence.

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2010 NBA Championship Game on June 17 at around 9 p.m., a crowd of about 200 to 300 people gathered on the northeast corner of Figueroa Street and Pico Boulevard.  Undercover officers from LAPD’s 77th Street Area saw some members of the crowd begin to vandalize an advertisement kiosk near a bus stop after one of them shattered the kiosk’s glass with his skateboard.

At this point, as the crowd was rapidly turning into an agitated, aggressive mob, one of the officers attempted to take the man with the skateboard into custody.  Additional undercover officers who identified themselves joined the effort and formed an arrest circle around the skateboarder.  However, the mob’s aggression continued to escalate, and officers were assaulted as they struggled to take two more suspects into custody.

Fearing for the safety of her officers and in an effort to break up the crowd, Sergeant Alma Burke (14 years, five months with the Department), a supervising officer at the scene, fired one round from her service pistol in an upward, easterly direction.  Immediately, people began to disperse, and all three suspects were taken into custody.

Nine officers were injured during the confrontation.  Injuries included numerous contusions, abrasions and a fractured nose.  LAPD Force Investigation Division personnel are investigating the crimes against the officers, the officer-involved shooting and the vandalism.