Jury Clears Detective in Death of Woman in ’83 Hawthorne Drug Raid

Times Staff Writers

A jury ruled Wednesday that a Los Angeles police detective acted properly in the shooting of a woman who was killed as she emerged from a shower during a 1983 drug raid in Hawthorne.

The civil suit was filed in Torrance Superior Court by family members on behalf of Myron Ryan Jr., 14, who was 7 when his mother, Alice English, 28, was killed.

Attorneys for Ryan alleged that narcotics Detective Carl Ingels was guilty of wrongful death and negligence in the shooting of English during the October, 1983, raid on the home of Michael Thurmond, English’s boyfriend.

The Torrance Superior Court jury voted 12 to 0 in Ingels’ favor.


‘I Feel Great’

“I feel great,” Ingels, 52, a 32-year veteran of the department, said after the verdict.

“I was acting in defense of my life,” he added. “I was exonerated by a jury of 12 people and by my department.”

Ingels was one of several officers involved in the pre-dawn raid. Los Angeles detectives, backed up by officers from Hawthorne and Inglewood, were serving a search warrant, acting on a tip that drugs were being sold at the home. Thurmond was also being sought for violation of parole after a robbery conviction in Cincinnati.


Officers battered open a steel gate and the rear door at the single-story stucco house on West 116th Street when the occupants refused to let the police in, said Deputy Los Angeles City Atty. Richard James, who represented Ingels and the city, who were named as defendants in the 1984 suit.

After entering the home, Ingels led a team of officers to the rear of the home and a locked bathroom. When the officers kicked down the door, Thurmond stayed in place, but English ran to the shower, James said.

She emerged carrying a dark object and “lunged” at Ingels. The detective fired one shot at the woman, hitting her in the groin. Police determined later that the object was a dark bathrobe.

Cocaine Found

English died 2 1/2 hours later at Hawthorne Community Hospital. Police said a large quantity of cocaine and a loaded automatic handgun were recovered in the three-bedroom house. Five men were arrested during the raid on suspicion of conspiracy to sell cocaine.

Police said they had information that Thurmond and the others in the home would be heavily armed.

Los Angeles police investigators later found that the shooting of English was “justified by self-defense,” James said.

“At the time, (Ingels) had 27 years on the department, 17 of them as a narcotics detective. It was only the second time he had fired a weapon in all of those years,” James said.


Norman Goodfriend, an attorney for Ryan, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.