Officer Shoots Man in Van Nuys Confrontation Over Handgun

A man suspected of repeatedly firing shots in his Van Nuys neighborhood was seriously wounded by a police officer after the man dropped one gun when he was ordered to, but then picked up another, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.

Hector Calvillo, 42, was in serious but stable condition at Northridge Hospital Medical Center after being shot in the arm and neck about 10 p.m. Tuesday in the 7100 block of Valjean Avenue, officials said. No one else was injured in the incident.

Calvillo was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and will be jailed when his medical condition allows, Officer Steve Baragan said.

Calvillo was shot on the street near his home by Officer Douglas Gerst, 35, police said. Gerst was one of several patrol officers who responded after residents reported that several shots had been fired in the neighborhood near Van Nuys Airport.


“The shooting was on and off,” a neighborhood resident said. “The guy would shoot one gun, and then a little while later you would hear another shot that sounded like a different gun. It was hard to tell where the shots were coming from.”

Followed Sound of Shots

Baragan said that when officers initially arrived in the 7100 block of Woodley Avenue, they heard several shots being fired and followed the sound to Valjean Avenue, a block away. He said the officers then spotted a man--later identified as Calvillo--hiding behind a parked car on the street. Gerst, who saw that Calvillo was holding a gun, ordered him to drop it and surrender, Baragan said.

“The suspect dropped the weapon,” Baragan said. “However, he picked up another handgun and pointed it in the officer’s direction.”


Baragan said Gerst fired his own weapon five times, striking Calvillo in the right arm and neck. Calvillo did not return fire and no other officers fired their guns, police said.

Police said Calvillo had a .38-caliber pistol and a .44 magnum in his possession, and officers also found considerable ammunition in his pockets. On Wednesday, police were investigating what prompted the incident.

“It is unknown what precipitated his actions prior to the officers arriving,” Baragan said of Calvillo. “They don’t know why he was doing it.”