Slain Gunman Identified as Suspect in Earlier Murder
A gunman killed by police after wounding a Redondo Beach officer was identified Wednesday as a successful businessman who had recently run into financial problems and was trying to escape after murdering a longtime associate, authorities said.
The wounded officer, Leonard Knott, 40, was recuperating Wednesday after undergoing surgery to remove a bullet that had lodged in his neck, Lt. John Nelson said. It appeared that Knott, a 13-year police veteran, would fully recover.
Knott was wounded by Roger Bollinger, 52, who was shot several times and killed by two other officers in a point-blank confrontation Tuesday afternoon at the entrance to the garage of his condominium at 312 Francisca St., Nelson said.
Associate Found Dead
Investigators believe that, before the officers arrived, Bollinger had shot and killed Gary Taylor, 52, of Rancho Palos Verdes. Taylor, shot three times in the head, was found dead by the arriving officers just inside the entrance to the condo.
Nelson said Bollinger owned a successful business in Ohio before selling it and moving to Southern California, but apparently had run into financial difficulties in trying to get an auto resale business off the ground. He and his wife were divorced this summer, police said.
Police declined to identify the business Bollinger had owned or reveal the exact nature of his financial problems.
What motivated him to kill Taylor, a sometime business associate he had known since high school, was still unclear, Nelson said.
"(Bollinger) was a highly successful businessman and not the type to try and shoot it out with police,” Nelson said. “We think he just went off the deep end.”
Preparing to Leave
Investigators believe that Bollinger was preparing to leave the condo after killing Taylor. When Knott and Officers Mark Rodina and David Tanenman arrived at the scene to investigate a report of shots fired, they heard a car’s motor running in the garage.
Fearing a suicide attempt or suspect getaway, the three officers forced open the front door.
Knott was wounded as he stood at the top of the stairwell leading to the garage door. Nelson said the officer had just stepped around the corner to back up Rodina and Tanenman, who had confronted Bollinger at the garage entrance.
“His attention was directed toward the officers,” Nelson said. "(Police officers) have all that training and experience and you think you have the edge. But when something like this happens, and you don’t even know it’s coming, it’s a real nightmare.”
The wounding of Knott was the second shooting of a Redondo Beach officer this month. Officer Mike Clifton was grazed in the head by a bullet when a suspected car thief opened fire on officers who had cornered him.