Suspect Dies While in Police Custody

September 27, 1999

Monday, September 27, 1999
On Saturday, September 25, 1999, at approximately 10:30 P.M., Van Nuys Area uniformed officers responded to a "man screaming, burglary/prowler suspect there now" radio call at 13900 block of Valerio Street. The suspect was described as a male Hispanic.

Upon arrival, the officers observed the male Hispanic suspect in the front yard. The suspect was yelling incoherently in Spanish and was holding two metal poles in his hands. The officers identified themselves as police officers in Spanish and English and ordered the suspect to drop the metal poles and place his hands above his head. The suspect responded by breaking a lighted lamp on a decorative rod iron fence and throwing large rocks at the officers. The officers repeated their demands and the suspect failed to comply. The suspect was swinging the metal poles and continued yelling incoherently in Spanish. The officers requested a back up unit and a supervisor. One officer at scene then deployed the bean bag shotgun. Suddenly, the suspect charged the officers with the poles above his head. The suspect was ordered to stop and he failed to comply. At this point the officer, deploying the bean bag shotgun fearing for the safety of his fellow officers, fired one bean bag round at the suspect. The suspect ran westbound on Valerio Street. The officer fired an additional bean bag round at the suspect. The rounds appeared to have no effect. The suspect then entered a nearby front yard on Valerio Street and hid beneath a tree. At this time a Sergeant and additional officers responded to the back up call. The officers approached the suspect.

The officers ordered the suspect, in English and in Spanish, to come out and place his hands above his head. The suspect failed to comply and then suddenly charged at one of the officers with a metal pole in his hand. The officer, fearing for his safety and the safety of his fellow officers, fired two bean bag rounds at the suspect striking him in the upper torso and face. The suspect fell to the ground and one of the officers at scene approached the suspect in an attempt to handcuff him. The suspect fought with the officer and attempted to bite her. The sergeant at scene then instructed the officers to utilize the team take-down technique to control the suspect. The suspect was handcuffed, and due to his kicking at the officers, the hobble restraint was utilized. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident.

The suspect was placed on his side and a rescue ambulance was requested. While awaiting arrival of the ambulance, the suspect began to experience difficulty in breathing. Los Angeles City Fire Department Paramedics responded to the scene and attempted to resuscitate the suspect. The suspect failed to respond to treatment and was pronounced dead at 11:22 P.M.

Robbery Homicide Division, in conjunction with Van Nuys Area Detectives, is conducting the investigation.

For Release 10:20 am PST
September 27, 1999