LAPD officer charged with shooting a fellow cop on camping trip
A Los Angeles police officer was charged Tuesday with assault with a deadly weapon after San Bernardino County prosecutors say he shot another off-duty officer over the weekend while camping in Apple Valley.
Officer Ismael Tamayo, 44, a 13-year veteran of the LAPD, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the late-night shooting at the Stoddard Wells Off-Highway Vehicle Area that wounded a colleague.
But the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office on Tuesday filed a lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon against Tamayo, an Ontario resident. The filing identified the victim as Mark Mascareno, 48, a fellow officer in the LAPD’s Newton Division.
According to the D.A.’s charges, Tamayo used a a Glock .40-caliber handgun in the commission of a “serious and violent felony” that resulted in great bodily injury.
Multiple law enforcement sources who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident said three officers were camping, shooting their weapons and drinking alcohol in the hours before Mascareno was wounded.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting call about 1 a.m. Sunday and found Mascareno with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. He was airlifted to a hospital.
Tamayo was found nearby in possession of a firearm and taken into custody, authorities said.
The LAPD has initiated an administrative investigation.
Chief Michel Moore told the L.A. Police Commission on Tuesday he was thankful that the wounded officer was out of the hospital.
“I am very disappointed and frustrated by this event,” Moore said, noting that the injury was “serious and life-threatening.”
In addition how the shooting occurred, Moore said he wants to know why the officers were at the campground during the state’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic. The area appeared to be open to the public, and other campers were nearby, according to a preliminary investigation.
“What led up to this shooting is very important,” the chief said. “I’d like to not just understand the criminality, but what other issues I might have as chief as to how they ended up there to begin with.”
Tamayo’s attorney, Gregory G. Yacoubian, said in an email his client is cooperating with authorities.
“We are confident that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing once the facts are made known. We ask that due process be allowed to run its course and that the privacy of Ismael and his family is respected,” Yacoubian said.
“It is important that you know that Ismael Tamayo served honorably for over 21 years with the United States military, which included several deployments overseas, and is presently a tenured Los Angeles Police Officer.”
Tamayo has been relieved of his police powers pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations, the department said in a statement.
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