Violent Shootout Between LAPD Officers and Four Male Suspects Ends up With One Suspect Dead

December 19, 2002

"Violent Shootout Between LAPD Officers and Four Male Suspects Ends up With One Suspect Dead"
Los Angeles – – Earlier today at approximately 2:30 A.M., Los Angeles Police Officers Peter Galan (Serial No. 31808, 32 years old, seven years with the Department) and Roger Fontes (Serial No. 34970, 31 years old, four years with the Department), both assigned to Wilshire Area Patrol, were in the area of Country Club Drive and Western Avenue when they observed a speeding vehicle. As the officers followed the vehicle, containing four male suspects, they observed the vehicle fail to stop at a posted stop sign in the area of 12th Street and Western Avenue, a violation of Section 22450 of the Vehicle Code. The officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted to stop the suspects’ vehicle in the area of Olympic Boulevard and Western Avenue. The suspects failed to yield and a pursuit ensued. As the suspects reached the area of 12th Place and Serrano Avenue, they exited the vehicle and began firing a barrage of rounds at the officers, using multiple firearms. The officers, who by now were out of their police vehicle, were in fear for their safety, and returned fire at the suspects using their service pistols.
The suspects re-entered their vehicle and sped away from the location. The officers, in spite of their vehicle being severely damaged and in spite of the driver officer suffering body lacerations caused by debris from the shattered windshield of the police vehicle, got back into the police vehicle and pursued the suspects, until the police vehicle became disabled in the area of Venice Boulevard and Gramercy Place. As these officers were pursuing the suspects, the suspects continued firing their weapons at the officers.
Other police units, responding to assist their fellow officers, joined in the pursuit. As the suspects reached the area of Vermont Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, they entered a parking garage. Two other responding officers followed the suspects into the parking area. Exiting the parking garage, the suspects attempted to run down the two officers, who were on foot. The suspects exited the garage and, once again, began firing rounds at another set of officers who were positioned outside of the parking garage, outside of their police vehicle. As the suspects fired at the officers, Officer Ralph Camarillo (Serial No. 31713, 29 years old, six years with the Department), assigned to Rampart Area Patrol, became fearful for his partner’s and his own safety. He returned fire at the suspects, using his service pistol. The suspects sped away from the location, with units pursuing. The pursuit continued and as the suspects were southbound Hill Street, they collided with a tractor-trailer that was eastbound 18th Street. The suspects’ vehicle rolled over several times before finally coming to a rest mid-block on Hill Street between 18th Street and Washington Boulevard. Two of the suspects exited the vehicle and tried to escape but were captured by responding officers, after a brief foot pursuit.
All four suspects were transported to a local hospital for treatment. One of the suspects, struck by gunfire during the shootout, succumbed to injuries. It is unknown at this time if he died as a result of being struck by gunfire, or as a result of the traffic collision. A second suspect is listed in critical condition as a result of a head injury. A third suspect received minor injuries and the fourth was not injured. .
Fortunately, none of the officers were struck by gunfire. Both officers were treated for lacerations to the body and released. A shotgun, an AR-181 Assault Rifle, a handgun and numerous rounds of ammunition were recovered from in and around the suspects’ vehicle. The three remaining suspects will be booked. They face numerous charges. These charges include the Attempted Murder of Police Officers.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and is being conducted by Robbery Homicide and Critical Incident Investigation Divisions. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is also conducting an investigation into this incident.
This press release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.