Officers Threatened by Knife-Wielding Assault Suspect Resulting in an Officer Involved Shooting NR11151bb

April 11, 2011

Los Angeles: On April 6, 2011, an Olympic Area sergeant and a Newton Area sergeant were working off duty as plain-clothes security officers at an entertainment venue in Hollywood.  At about 10 p.m., three female employees requested help from the security detail after being assaulted with a knife by a male White suspect; the above sergeants responded.

As the sergeants walked towards the front entrance located near the intersection of Argyle Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, they saw the suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Justin Trent Owens, who immediately turned away and ran in an easterly direction on Sunset Boulevard and then north on El Centro Avenue.  The sergeants followed Owens to the mid-block of El Centro Avenue when one of the sergeants pushed Owens from behind causing him to lose balance and fall. When Owens fell, both sergeants saw Owens holding a knife in his right hand.

One sergeant stood behind Owens and the other near his head while ordering Owens to drop the knife. Owens failed to comply with the sergeant’s orders at which time the Olympic Area sergeant became involved in an officer-involved shooting.  During the shooting, the Olympic Area sergeant’s bullet accidentally struck his left hand and grazed Owens.

LAFD paramedics responded and transported both the sergeant and Owens to a local hospital. Both were treated and released.

Force Investigation Division (FID) personnel responded and are investigating the officer-involved shooting.  The crime committed against the three female employees is being investigated by Hollywood Detectives, while FID continues to investigate the possible crime against the sergeants.

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use of force actions must be objectively reasonable. Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the officer-involved shooting.