"I don't think you or I should judge tactics or whether a situation was done right or wrong before an investigation is done," Garcetti told a press gathering at City Hall.
Los Angeles police officers are trained to deal with unstable people, and the officers involved in Sunday's shooting had additional training because they were assigned to skid row, he said. He called the
"Is this a force that can never make a mistake?,'' he said. "Of course not.... [But] as tragic a situation as this is, I have big compliments for the system overall."
The mayor confirmed that two officers were wearing body cameras that were activated during the incident. Garcetti said he had not yet viewed the footage and cautioned that it might not contain definitive evidence.
"This will be one element that will strengthen the investigation, but it will not by itself be the sole determination,'' he said. Whether the footage would be made public has not yet been decided, he said.
The homeless man, who is black and in his 30s, according to the coroner, has not been publicly identified.
Police on Sunday responded to reports of an altercation and tussled with the man as he emerged from a tent on San Pedro Street. Authorities say the officers fired on the man after he reached for an officer's gun and refused to comply with an order to drop it.
A bystander's video taken of the shooting has gone viral and inflamed passions, and Garcetti asked the public to consider that "officers and too many Angelenos face extreme danger on the streets and to not draw any conclusions until we finish the work of the investigation."