Officer fatally shoots a person in South L.A. after an emotional Police Commission meeting

A Los Angeles police officer shot and killed someone Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop in South L.A., hours after activists and others made an emotional appeal for police officials to release more information about a high-profile shooting last week.

Tuesday’s killing occurred after an officer on a motorcycle stopped a dark sedan along Century Boulevard east of Figueroa Street about 3:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police Lt. Chris Ramirez said. 

During the traffic stop, a male passenger got out of the vehicle, and at some point the officer shot him, Ramirez said.

Police are still investigating what prompted the officer to open fire. Two handguns were recovered at the scene, Ramirez said. The dead person’s name and age were not immediately released.

The sedan fled the scene, and police were trying to find it and speak to the driver and any other passengers who witnessed the shooting, Ramirez said. Police did not have any additional information about the type of vehicle.

No officers were injured during the incident. The officer who opened fire was not wearing a body camera.

The shooting marked the 16th this year by on-duty LAPD officers, according to data compiled by The Times. Of those, 13 people have died.

At Tuesday’s weekly meeting of the city’s Police Commission, activists and residents called on the panel to release footage from body cameras worn by the officers who were at the scene of a shooting last week when police killed a 14-year-old boy.

Emotions ran high at the meeting, the commission’s first since an officer fatally shot Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights, a deadly encounter that prompted questions, criticism and demonstrations within the Eastside neighborhood and beyond.

“Our community is hurting,” said Antonio Rodriguez, one of the attorneys representing Romero’s mother.

Like others in the audience, he urged the police commissioners to make the body camera recordings public. The LAPD has said it generally does not plan to release such footage unless required in court.

Instead, Rodriguez said, officials should release “every bit of evidence so the community can independently judge what is right and what is not right.”

“Release the tapes,” he said as the audience clapped.

The LAPD has said that Romero fired a revolver at officers as he ran from them. One witness interviewed by investigators saw the teen shoot, LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. Others told investigators they saw Romero toss the gun over a fence and then heard gunfire, he said.

A woman told The Times last week that she saw Romero pull the gun from his waistband and throw it toward a fence. When it fell to the ground, she said, she heard the weapon fire.

The events leading up to the shooting began at about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 9, when officers responded to a report of vandalism suspects near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, the LAPD said.

When officers approached the group, they ran. Romero ran down Cesar Chavez — where one witness saw him fire at police, Moore said — before turning on Breed Street.

As officers approached the corner, they heard a gunshot, Moore said. As they turned, one officer opened fire.

Romero, who would have turned 15 next week, died at the scene. 

Investigators are looking for any additional witnesses and analyzing evidence, including the body camera recordings and the loaded gun found at the scene, Moore said.

“There remains a great deal more work to be done in this investigation,” he said.

Both Moore and Matt Johnson, the president of the Police Commission, called Romero’s death “tragic.”

The deadly encounter in Boyle Heights wasn’t the only shooting by LAPD officers to draw attention at Tuesday’s meeting. The mother of a man shot and killed by police last month in Watts grew emotional as she addressed the Police Commission, asking for more information about her son’s death.

Her son, Richard Risher, was killed July 25 in Nickerson Gardens, one of L.A.’s toughest housing projects. The LAPD has said the 18-year-old also shot at officers while running from them, prompting police to open fire. One officer was shot in the arm and taken to a hospital for treatment.

“I want the cop prosecuted,” said Risher’s mother, Lisa Simpson, her voice rising. “I want him off the streets without pay.”

“I’m furious,” Simpson said as she started to cry and moved toward the dais where the police commissioner sat. Some police officers moved toward her, as did activists in the crowd.

For a few tense minutes, some people in the crowd shouted at police as Simpson cried, her shoulders shaking. One of the commissioners, Cynthia McClain-Hill, stepped down from the dais and walked into the crowd.

Seconds later, she walked out of the room with Simpson, her arms wrapped around the weeping mother.

kate.mather@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter: @katemather

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UPDATES:

8:40 p.m.: This article was updated with details from Tuesday afternoon's fatal shooting by an LAPD officer.

This article was originally published at 7:15 p.m.

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