In separate shooting incidents, Los Angeles police officers killed a pair of suspected car thieves after chasing them into Culver City and critically wounded a knife-wielding woman in Hollywood, authorities said Thursday.
An officer was shot in the wrist and a police dog was killed in the Culver City incident; a bystander was wounded in the head by a fragment from a police bullet in the Hollywood shooting.
Both episodes occurred Wednesday night.
The first began about 9:30 p.m., when Hollywood Division Sgt. Richard Dedmon, 39, was flagged down by a bail bondsman at Yucca Street and Whitley Avenue, police said. As Dedmon and the bondsman spoke, they were approached by Catherine Hernandez, 32, who appeared to be drunk, according to police reports. Dedmon ordered her to leave, but Hernandez instead pulled out a large folding knife and allegedly threatened the officer.
Eight Shots Fired
Dedmon called for backup and, when other officers arrived, they shot Hernandez with a Taser gun, a device that fires electrically charged darts that temporarily incapacitate a person. Hernandez, however, pulled out the darts and jumped onto the hood of a parked car, police said.
When she allegedly lunged at Officer Julie Boyer, 30, she, Dedmon and Officer Joan Leuck, 29, fired a total of eight rounds, striking Hernandez in the left leg, both arms, and the lower back.
Hernandez was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was in stable condition Thursday afternoon. Hospital spokesman Ron Wise said Hernandez sustained eight wounds.
Another woman walking across the street at the time of the shooting, Peggy Erickson, 18, was grazed in the left temple by a bullet fragment. She was treated at a hospital and released.
The Culver City shooting occurred about 11 p.m, two hours after motorcycle officers from West Los Angeles chased two suspects in what turned out to be a stolen car. The pursuit ended at Washington Boulevard and Bledsoe Avenue in Culver City when the car crashed into a curb.
After jumping out of the car, the driver, identified as Jorge Jaramillo, 17, of Silver Lake, fired once at officers, missing them, according to police. After other officers arrived, a house-by-house search was begun.
Officer, Dog Shot
K-9 Officer John Hall, 41, and his dog, Liberty, were searching a garage in the 4100 block of Bledsoe Avenue when they were hit by gunfire from a storage room. Hall was shot in the right wrist; Liberty, a female Rottweiler, was struck in the chest. Although wounded, Hall returned fire and took up another position near the front of the garage.
According to a Police Department press release, Jaramillo suddenly emerged from the storage room and Hall fired several more shots from his 9-millimeter pistol, fatally wounding him.
A second K-9 officer, Sgt. Mark Mooring, 38, then sent his German shepherd, Friday, into the garage and found another suspect, Amir Abedi, 18, a San Fernando Valley resident. When he allegedly pointed a handgun at Mooring, the officer fired his pistol three times, killing Abedi. A .22-caliber revolver was recovered from the suspect, police said.
Hall was in good condition at UCLA Medical Center where he was treated for a fractured arm. Liberty, who had participated in 250 searches and was credited with 103 arrests in two years on the force, died at a local veterinary office.
Wednesday’s shooting was not the first for Mooring and Hall, both 17-year veterans of the department, records show.
Last June, both officers participated in the killing of a 16-year-old burglary suspect, who had fatally shot a rookie police officer minutes earlier. After the suspect was found in the attic of a North Hollywood house, Hall and Mooring were among four officers who shot the suspect three times in the face when he repeatedly tried to reach for a gun, according to police reports.
Two years before that shooting, Hall participated in the hunt for three men who had allegedly fired on police officers during a chase. After finding one of the suspects hiding in a carport in South-Central Los Angeles, Hall and another officer killed him after the suspect allegedly reached for a gun.
Wednesday’s shooting was Mooring’s fourth since 1985, records show.
In September, 1985, he and another K-9 officer confronted a suspected auto thief who was hiding under a pickup truck in Van Nuys. After the suspect announced, “I ain’t going back” and “rapidly moved his left arm” as if to arm himself, Mooring and the other officer wounded him in the shoulder, hips and legs.
In April, 1987, Mooring and his dog attempted to flush a prison escapee from the crawl space of a house on Mt. Washington. According to reports, when the escapee appeared to reach for a revolver, Mooring fired three rounds at the escapee and two other officers fired a total of four shots, killing the escapee.