Suspect Shot after Pointing a Semi-Automatic Weapon at Officers

October 10, 2000

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

"Suspect Shot after Pointing a Semi-Automatic Weapon at Officers"

Los Angeles – On Tuesday, October 10, 2000, at approximately 03:05 a.m., 77th Street Area Community Police Station uniformed Officers Joshua Kniss, Serial No. 33859, (25 years of age, 3 ½ years with the Department) and Eric Melendez, Serial No. 34233, (28 years of age, 3 ½ years with the Department) were on routine patrol in the area of Hoover Avenue and 52nd Street. As the officers were southbound Hoover Avenue approaching 52nd Street, they observed two males on the east sidewalk of Hoover Avenue, just north of 53rd Street. One of the males (Damon Tolbert, male Black, 23 years old) walked onto the street in the traffic lanes, with his back toward the officers, who, by now had stopped their police vehicle. Officer Melendez was the driver officer and Kniss was the passenger officer. Suddenly, the suspect (Damon Tolbert) turned toward the officers and pointed a semi-automatic type weapon at the officers. The officers exited their vehicle and ordered the suspect to drop the weapon. The suspect refused to comply. Both officers, in fear for their lives, fired multiple rounds at the suspect, from their service weapons. Apparently not impacted by the gunfire, the suspect then turned and pointed his weapon at an approaching vehicle, travelling northbound Hoover Avenue at 53rd Street. Officer Melendez, fearing for the safety of the vehicle’s occupant, again, fired at the suspect. The suspect dropped the weapon and continued acting in a bellicose/aggressive manner. The officers were eventually able to subdue the suspect and take him into custody. Paramedics responded to the location and transported the suspect to a local hospital where he was admitted and treated for gunshot wounds.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the weapon in the suspect’s possession was a [possible] Tech-9 semi-automatic weapon. The weapon was recovered at the scene. The suspect is listed in guarded condition. The suspect, Damon Tolbert, a.k.a. "Little Creep", is a known gang member. He was booked for violation of 245(d) 2 of the California Penal Code – Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer w/ a Semi-Automatic Firearm. Arrestee Tolbert is being held on $200,000.00 bail; Booking No. 6630570.

Robbery Homicide Division is conducting the investigation.

For further information regarding this press release, please contact Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.

This Press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer-in-Charge, Media Relations Section.

For Release 5:00 pm PDT
October 10, 2000