On May 15, 1920, Policeman John Magness was the front passenger in a University Division Police Ambulance. (University Division is now known as Southwest Division.) During the course of his duties, his vehicle became involved in a collision with another vehicle. Policeman Magness suffered internal injuries and a severe laceration to his right upper thigh. He was transported to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries six days later.
Policeman Magness left behind a wife and four children and is also survived by his great-grandson, LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Oreb.
On the evening of June 25, 2003, Northeast Division Homicide Detectives Abiel Barron and Andrew Teague were returning from relocating a witness who had testified in a gang murder case. They were driving eastbound on CA Highway 138 when a vehicle traveling westbound on the highway illegally passed a third vehicle without sufficient clearance to merge back into its lane.
The vehicle struck the detectives’ police vehicle head on and smashed it beyond recognition. Sadly, Detective Barron succumbed to his injuries at the scene, leaving behind a wife and 13-year-old daughter. Detective Teague was gravely injured and transported to the hospital. He suffered serious head injuries from which he never fully recovered and subsequently medically retired.
In the early evening hours of June 7, 2020, North Hollywood Division officers responded to numerous 911 calls for an Assault with a Deadly Weapon suspect. Upon arrival, officers observed the suspect armed with a rifle pacing back and forth and barricaded inside his apartment. They contained the location and requested multiple times for the suspect to surrender. He refused to comply, and SWAT was requested.
SWAT was briefed that the suspect had discharged his rifle at his neighbors and was now barricaded in his apartment. As officers evacuated residents from the hallway, Officer Daniel Sanchez took a barricaded position at a nearby apartment to provide cover for his partners.
Without warning, the suspect emerged from his apartment wearing a camouflage jacket and holding a big game hunting style crossbow in his right hand and a rifle in his left hand. The suspect re-entered his apartment and slammed the door shut. Moments later, he re-emerged holding the crossbow in an upward position.
As Sanchez pleaded with the suspect to surrender peacefully, the suspect turned toward him and lowered the crossbow to a low-ready position barricaded behind his doorway. Suddenly and without provocation, the suspect then raised it and fired an arrow at Sanchez. Realizing the immediate threat to his life, he discharged two rounds toward the suspect.
Sanchez sustained a laceration to his left thumb and was transported to the hospital, where his thumb was surgically reattached. Sanchez returned to duty seven months later. It was later determined that one of the rounds Sanchez had fired lodged in the crossbow, essentially disabling further arrows from being shot from it.
In the late afternoon hours of March 8, 2023, Hollenbeck Division detectives were searching for a parolee-at-large and an active Highland Park gang member who had fled from detectives. The detectives set up a perimeter and requested Metropolitan Division K9 Platoon personnel to search.
The K9 platoon was briefed on the circumstances of the investigation and the nature of the crime in which the suspect was involved. They formulated a tactical search plan for the contained area. Officers made multiple announcements to notify anyone in the area of the impending K9 search. The purpose of these announcements was to de-escalate the incident and give the suspect an opportunity to surrender.
They began their search and soon found the suspect hiding in a detached garage. He refused to come out and submit to arrest. The search team, including Officers Adrian Bonilla, Alan Ramirez, and Steve Wills, set a tight containment around the structure to prevent the suspect from escaping.
After several attempts to apprehend the suspect, the suspect fired upon the officers. Officers Bonilla, Ramirez, and Wills were struck by gunfire, resulting in traumatic physical injuries. Ramirez and Wills have since returned to work, while Bonilla continues to receive medical treatment.
In the afternoon of September 14, 1965, Policeman Richard Lundgren was patrolling in Highland Park Division (now known as Northeast Division) when he was flagged down by a citizen who advised his neighbor’s home was being burglarized. Lundgren responded to the residence and upon entering the home observed the suspect gathering the victim’s valuables in a sack.
Lundgren ordered the suspect against a wall. Initially, the suspect complied. But as Lundgren approached, the suspect produced a hammer and began violently swinging it at him. In defense of his life, Lundgren shot the suspect twice. The wounded suspect continued attacking Lundgren, striking him in the face with the hammer. Lundgren fired three more shots, and the suspect finally gave up.
Policeman Lundgren was taken to the hospital, admitted for one night, and treated for the loss of five teeth. He returned to work four days later. He underwent numerous dental surgeries but continued his career for another 18 years, retiring in 1983.
In the early morning hours of October 29, 1973, Devonshire Patrol Officers Jack Dillard, Gordon Garver, James Murawski, and John Preston responded to a disturbance call of a man with a gun. Officers contacted a neighbor who advised them that an 8-year-old girl from the neighborhood knocked on his front door about 10 minutes prior and told him that a man was holding her mother at gunpoint in her residence. Dillard got the victim’s name and phone number and called the house, but the phone did not ring. Garver, Preston, and Murawski went to the victim’s residence and heard noises that sounded like someone being struck, but no screaming was heard.
Officers Dillard, Preston, and Garver approached the front of the house, and Dillard rang the doorbell with his baton. A few seconds later, the viewing window on the front door opened and female asked who was there. He replied, “Police officers. Open the door.” The woman replied, “Help me! He is in the bedroom with a gun.” Preston and Garver immediately got her out of the house.
Dillard yelled into the residence, asking the man to put down the gun and come out. The man yelled back at the officers to, “Come get him.” Dillard repeatedly asked the suspect to surrender as he, Preston, and Garver entered a hallway. Suddenly, the officers observed the barrels of a double-barreled shotgun being thrust out of a side hallway.
The suspect stepped out into the hallway, holding the shotgun at the hip position, with his left hand on the barrel and his right hand on the trigger. The officers backed up toward the front door, and the suspect pointed the weapon at the officers and fired one round.
Preston simultaneously fired one round from his shotgun at the suspect while Dillard and Garver fired one round from their revolvers. The suspect backed up into a side hallway, as Preston advised his fellow officers he had been hit. Garver grabbed Preston and pulled him out the front door. Murawski, who had been standing on the front porch, was also hit by the suspect’s buckshot.
The suspect came around the hallway again, and Dillard fired three rounds at the suspect. The suspect slipped out of view, and Dillard exited the residence. As Preston and Garver made notifications of the shooting and requested an ambulance, Murawski and Dillard positioned themselves behind vehicles on the street and illuminated the front door with a flashlight. A short time later, the suspect appeared in the front doorway and pointed the shotgun at the officers. The officers fired at the suspect, and the suspect retreated into the residence. Officers at the rear of the house observed the suspect fall to the floor. Officers reentered the residence and took the suspect into custody.
Officers Preston and Murawski were treated and released for their injuries.
In the early evening hours of April 2, 2008, Operations-South Bureau Gang Enforcement Detail (GED) Officers John Carlyle, Antonio Martin, David Phillips, and Brandon Valdez were conducting an operation in the Harbor Area to locate and apprehend a suspect wanted for making criminal threats against police officers. The suspect was currently out on bail awaiting trial for criminal threats; however, given the potential threat he posed to the community, a judge revoked his previous bail and issued an arrest warrant.
The suspect was a documented Eastside Wilmas gang member who sought revenge for an officer involved shooting that occurred the previous month with a fellow Eastside Wilmas gang member. The officers were told that the suspect was also being charged with a carjacking that happened two years prior. Additionally, the suspect had been seen with a blue steel revolver and was looking to obtain an AK-47 to kill a Los Angeles Police Officer.
Plain clothes officers in an unmarked police vehicle responded to the suspect’s residence where they observed him enter the driver’s side of a vehicle. The officers also observed two female passengers in the car. They broadcast the information to the designated uniformed chase team. Carlyle and Phillips responded to the alley, began following the suspect, and requested backup. Martin and Valdez responded to the backup request, and Carlyle activated his emergency lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop.
The suspect refused to stop, accelerated, and a pursuit ensued. He started to negotiate a left turn, then decelerated, and attempted a right turn. Carlyle unintentionally collided with the suspect’s vehicle, causing it to spin clockwise. The suspect tried to accelerate, but the secondary police vehicle blocked his path. The suspect exited the vehicle and pointed a handgun in Martin’s direction.
Fearing he was about to be shot, Martin opened his door, drew his service pistol, and fired two rounds at the suspect. Simultaneously, the suspect fired two shots at Martin, striking him on the left chest under his badge. Martin fell to the ground and as the suspect approached him, he attempted to get up and fired one to two more rounds at the suspect. Valdez saw Martin fall to the ground and shot at the suspect once. At the same time, Phillips exited his police vehicle, took cover by the suspect’s vehicle, and upon observing the suspect shoot at Martin, fired three rounds at the suspect. Carlyle, fearing Martin and Valdez were going to be killed, fired three to four rounds at the suspect as well.
Meanwhile, Harbor Division Vice Officer Nicholas Sysak and his partner heard the pursuit and responded in case they needed to set up a perimeter. As they approached the area, they observed the suspect shooting at the officers. Believing the officers were in danger of being shot and killed, Sysak negotiated a left turn and intentionally struck the suspect with his unmarked police vehicle. The collision caused the suspect to lose his grasp of the pistol and fall to the ground. The pistol crashed through the windshield of Sysak’s car. While Sysak’s decision to drive directly into a gun battle was unorthodox, it was instrumental in disarming the suspect. The suspect was taken into custody and pronounced dead at the scene.
It was later discovered Officer Martin’s United States Marine Corp pin, which he wore on the top left corner of his left shirt pocket, received a direct hit from the round fired by the suspect. The pin caused the bullet to slow, greatly reducing the severity of his injury. He was treated for injuries and released from the hospital.
In the late evening hours of June 9, 2022, Metropolitan Division Officers Cody MacArthur and Nicolas Chacon were driving home from their 14-hour shift and observed a vehicle veer off the freeway, roll over several times, collide with a guard rail, a street sign. and a wall before coming to rest on the right shoulder of the freeway and burst into flames. They immediately pulled over and broadcast what had occurred.
They observed a male emerge from the burning wreckage with a small infant in his arms. He advised that his wife and other children were still in the vehicle. The officers rushed to the burning vehicle and observed a four-year-old girl in the right rear passenger seat, a nine-year-old girl in the front passenger seat, and an adult female laying across the center console with her head facing the dashboard and her feet towards the back of the vehicle.
Both officers were faced with the agonizing decision to prioritize the rescues based on accessibility and likelihood of survival. The officers made the conscious decision to rescue the children first. Chacon utilized his pocketknife to free the four-year-old from the seatbelt, while MacArthur extracted her from the burning vehicle, while instructing the nine-year-old to climb out of the vehicle. The nine-year-old followed the officers’ lifesaving directions and safely escaped the car. The officers quickly led the children away from the deadly inferno.
The officers then heard the trapped female scream and, without hesitation, returned to the burning vehicle. At this time, Devonshire Patrol Officers Mario Lemus and Gabriel Rebolledo arrived with fire extinguishers. Without regard for their own safety, all four officers attempted to extract the female from the burning vehicle while using the fire extinguishers to prevent the fire from engulfing her. Chacon, feeling his shoes melting and sticking to the pavement, tried to pull her from the vehicle by her feet, and Lemus used his baton to smash the window.
Due to the intense flames and heat surrounding them, their efforts were thwarted, and the officers begrudgingly retreated. Sadly, the female perished in the fire.
In the late evening hours of June 19, 2022, Foothill Division Patrol Officers Christopher Kliebert and Andrew Mejia were conducting routine patrol when a code 3 radio call of a 415 man with a gun was broadcast. While officers were responding to the call, additional information was broadcast that the suspect was riding a bicycle, waving the weapon, and pointing at vehicles.
Mejia requested an air unit and the direction of travel of the suspect. The officers arrived at an intersection and saw him in the intersection making furtive movements to his waistband. They positioned their patrol vehicle between the suspect and the passing motorists, exited the vehicle, and ordered the suspect to show them his hands. He turned towards them, produced a handgun, and began firing at them as he walked towards them.
In defense of their own lives and the lives of citizens in the area, the officers returned fire, which effectively stopped the suspect’s actions.