Shooting Account Disputed : Canoga Park: The party host denies off-duty officer acted in self-defense when he killed guest.
The host of a party where an off-duty Los Angeles police officer shot and killed a Canoga Park construction worker contended Monday that the police version of the shooting is inaccurate.
But authorities investigating the matter said that host Stephen Jewett’s most recent statements contradict those he gave earlier, shortly after James Klomparens, 25, was killed by Officer Donald Black, 45.
Jewett said that Klomparens was shot from several feet away, not during a hand-to-hand struggle as Black reported. Jewett also claimed that Black had not identified himself as a police officer, a fact that Black disputes.
In addition, Jewett denied Black’s claims that both Klomparens and Klomparens’ brother, Michael, threatened him with a sawed-off shotgun. “It wasn’t self-defense at all,” Jewett said. “Jim and Mike never had guns on him.”
But Police Lt. William Hall, who is heading the shooting investigation, said Jewett’s original statement to police and the statement given by Michael Klomparens corroborate Black’s statements.
“From the extent of our investigation at this point, I see nothing alarming,” Hall said. Black told investigators that he fired one shot at Klomparens about 2 a.m. Sunday after the man attacked him and tried to take his gun. He said he fired three more times as Klomparens and his brother knocked him to the ground.
Black was spending the night at a friend’s house nearby and was awakened by the boisterous party at the home of Jewett’s parents, who were out of town.
James Klomparens’ father, Tom Klomparens, 67, said the version of events that he heard from his son, Michael, also was at odds with Black’s statements. He said Michael told him that the officer failed to identify himself before the shooting and did not fire a warning shot as he claimed.
“The first time my boys knew he was a police officer was after he put three shells into my boy,” Tom Klomparens said. “I think it’s a terrible thing. I’m just so thoroughly disgusted.”
Officials said that results of an autopsy on Klomparens’ body will not be available for several weeks. But the amount of gunpowder near the bullet wounds indicates that Klomparens was shot from a distance of less than five feet, Hall said.
James Klomparens died at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Woodland Hills shortly before 3 a.m., according to a county coroner’s spokesman. Michael Klomparens was arrested and jailed on suspicion of assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon, but he later posted $10,000 bail and was released.
Black, a 20-year veteran of the force, was recuperating Monday from injuries suffered in the incident, authorities said. He is expected to resume his duties teaching legal issues to recruits at the department’s training academy, Hall said.