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Los Angeles: An officer-involved shooting occurred after a man pointed a handgun at the officers.
On May 23, 2012, around 3:10 p.m., Southeast Area Robbery Section Police Officers II Jose Carias and Manuel Castaneda, Unit 18W47, were wearing Department raid jackets over their plain clothes and driving a plain vehicle. The officers were driving south on San Pedro Street approaching 106th Street looking for a robbery suspect known by the moniker of “Chino.”As the officers continued driving southbound, they observed Vargas walking north on the west sidewalk approaching 106thStreet with two subjects, later identified to be his younger brother and sister.
Both officers had prior contacts with Vargas and knew he was a member of the Southside Watts gang. The officers made eye contact with Vargas who immediately moved his right hand toward his waistband.
The officers believed Vargas was armed and communicated their observations to each other while Officer Carias negotiated a U-turn and Officer Castaneda broadcast their location. As Officer Carias parked their vehicle along the east curb of San Pedro Street, Vargas turned toward them from the west sidewalk and removed a semiautomatic pistol from his front waistband. The officers exited their vehicle, identified themselves as police officers and ordered Vargas to drop the pistol. Vargas pointed the pistol in the direction of the officers at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred. Vargas dropped his pistol and placed himself in a prone position at which time the officers broadcasted an officer needs help call. Due to the close proximity of the pistol to Vargas, the officers tactically deployed and took Vargas into custody without further incident as responding units arrived.
Officers Carias and Castaneda detained Vargas’ younger brother, who was later released to the custody of his father. Vargas’ younger sister sustained a gunshot wound to her right foot.
Los Angeles City Fire Department personnel responded and transported the minor to Harbor UCLA Pediatric Hospital, where she was treated and later released to the custody of her father.
There were no officers injured during the incident.
Force Investigation Division (FID) responded and will conduct a thorough investigation of the officer-involved shooting. The investigation is ongoing.
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.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Force Investigation Division at 213-486-5230. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.