LAPD shoots, kills man allegedly armed with handgun in Panorama City

Los Angeles police shot and killed a man who was allegedly armed with a handgun Tuesday afternoon in Panorama City, LAPD officials said.

The shooting may be the first such encounter captured by the department's new body cameras. The officers involved in the shooting were assigned to the Mission Division, which was the first to receive the new technology just two weeks ago.

Lt. John Jenal, an LAPD spokesman, confirmed the officers were wearing the cameras, but said Tuesday evening that investigators were still evaluating what the devices may have captured.

"They're looking at that as we speak," Jenal said. "That's the whole purpose -- to get evidence and transparency."

The events leading up to the shooting began about 2:45 p.m., Jenal said, when a 911 caller reported a man with a gun near Willis Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard. Officers began patrolling the area looking for the man, who was reported to have been wearing beige clothing.

A little less than a half hour later, Jenal said, officers spotted someone matching the description about a half a mile away, near Willis and Parthenia Street. The man was carrying a beer at the time, Jenal said.

What happened in the moments leading up to the shooting were not immediately known, but Jenal said that at some point the man "presented a handgun" that was later found near his body.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. A Los Angeles fire spokeswoman said paramedics took the body to the coroner's office for "crowd control issues." She said a large, "possibly volatile" group was at the scene.

Jenal said an LAPD captain asked that the body be removed as a precaution to "preclude trauma to the community and to preclude anything from getting out of control in any way, shape or form." 

Kevin Hernandez, 24, said he was at his house when he heard three gunshots. He went outside and saw a bleeding man lying face down on the ground, his hands cuffed behind his back. A gun was next to his body. 

Hernandez said he watched the man move his head for several minutes as a crowd started to form. Some people started shouting at the police, he said, telling the officers to call an ambulance. Others got out their phones and called 911.

"Then he lost all color and he was gone," Hernandez said in Spanish.

Angelica Torros took a short video of the man after he had been shot. The video, shot from some distance, shows what appears to be a gun and a beer can near his body, but it's unclear from the clip whether he was moving.

Torros and others said crime was prevalent in the area. "There's too many problems here," she said.

Some people were critical of the LAPD, saying police weren't doing enough to keep the area safe. Others said they tried to keep their heads down and avoid interacting with officers.

"I just go to work and go home and try to stay out of problems," said Rafael Tavaras, a 39-year-old landscaper. "I don't mess with them, then they won't mess with me."

Jenal said it was still unclear what the man was doing with the gun, noting there were no initial reports of a robbery, assault or other crime that occurred prior to the 911 call. The lieutenant said investigators had identified witnesses and were searching nearby buildings for security cameras that may have captured the shooting.

No officers were injured, Jenal said. The name of the man, thought to be in his 30s, has not been released.

The man was the 29th person shot by LAPD officers this year. Fifteen, including him, were killed.

LAPD officers shot 26 people in 2014, 18 fatally. But the numbers fluctuated in years prior. Officers shot 35 people in 2013, 29 the year before and 47 in 2011.

Follow @katemather and @sjceasar for more breaking news.

ALSO

L.A.'s newest police commissioner elected board's president

Patients scarred, insurance firms duped in massive scam, L.A. County prosecutors say

L.A. Unified school board meets with superintendent search firm

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
70°