Topanga Officer-Involved Shooting NRF064-23ne

November 5, 2023

November 6, 2023 NRF064-23rc


The officers in the below incident have been identified as Police Officer III Geoffrey Carlson, Serial No. 37373 and Police Officer II Phillip Phan, Serial No. 42556 assigned to Topanga Division.



**The following information is based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence. The Department’s understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed**

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Force Investigation Division is investigating an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that occurred in Topanga Division.

On November 01, 2023, around 7:45 p.m., Topanga Division uniformed officers responded to a radio call of an “Assault with a Deadly Weapon, suspect there now,” in the parking lot, located in the 23300 block of Avenue San Luis.

The suspect, later identified as Benjamin Pritchard, was armed with a machete and struck a victim several times causing minor injuries. During the attack, Pritchard dropped the machete and produced a knife, causing the victim to run away.

The officers arrived on scene and observed Pritchard in the parking lot, holding a knife. Pritchard ran from the officers, who broadcast a back-up request. The officers continued to follow Pritchard in their vehicle, they observed Pritchard now armed with a glass bottle along with a knife. Officers made several attempts to detain him and gave directions to Pritchard to drop the bottle and knife. Pritchard continued to flee on foot. Officers followed Pritchard, who was still armed with a knife and bottle, heading towards a nearby restaurant. Officers utilized their Public Address System to direct community members to shelter in place, as Pritchard ran into a parking lot of a restaurant.

Officers continued to verbalize with Pritchard who refused to comply, resulting in two TASER deployments. The first was ineffective and the second TASER deployment resulted in Pritchard falling to the ground, causing him to break the bottle in his possession. Pritchard, still armed with the knife, stood up, and ran inside the restaurant outdoor seating area. Numerous patrons were still inside the restaurant. Pritchard turned towards the officers holding up the knife and an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) occurred. Pritchard was struck by gunfire and fell to the ground. Pritchard was taken into custody without further incident and an officer rendered medical aid until rescue ambulance arrived.

Pritchard sustained gunshot wounds and was transported by Los Angeles Fire Department rescue ambulance to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Pritchard was positively identified by Representatives from the Coroner’s office. Notifications to Pritchard’s next of kin were made.

A machete was recovered at the original call location and the knife was recovered at the OIS scene. No officers or other community members were injured during this incident. Force Investigation Division (FID) investigators responded to the scene and are investigating this incident.

The complete investigation will be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the Office of the Inspector General to determine the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation and whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD’s policies and procedures. Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who responded to the scene will review the subsequent FID investigation, evidence collected, and witness statements to determine if the force used by the officer was reasonable.