Man killed himself after LAPD officer fired Taser during foot pursuit, officials say

Officers walk past LAPD headquarters
LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A 27-year-old man fatally shot himself during a police pursuit in Hollywood last weekend after scaling a fence and being shot at with a Taser by an LAPD officer chasing him, authorities allege.

Police Chief Michel Moore told the civilian Police Commission on Tuesday that the officer fired his Taser at the man after he saw the man drop and then pick up a handgun. Moore said the man — identified as Nicholas Jones — allegedly shot himself in the head moments later.

Moore did not specify whether Jones was struck with the Taser or the effect it may have had on him. The Los Angeles Police Department declined to say how much time passed between the officer firing his Taser and the fatal shooting.

“The department is still actively investigating these details and it will still take time to review all the evidence before we can provide definitive details about this unfortunate event,” said Capt. Stacy Spell, an LAPD spokesman.


The Los Angeles County coroner’s office ruled Jones’ death a suicide by gunshot to the head. A coroner’s spokeswoman said the autopsy report would note any taser prongs that struck Jones prior to his death.

The Los Angeles Police Commission has faulted officers for firing unnecessary shots, failing to maintain effective communication with one another, failing to wait for reinforcements and other transgressions, a Times analysis of fatal shootings since 2018 shows.

March 14, 2021

Before the commission, Moore said the “unique” and “difficult” encounter began when Hollywood officers began pursuing a stolen Audi SUV driven by Jones about 10:20 p.m. Saturday.

Moore said Jones crashed the SUV into two other vehicles on Hobart Boulevard just north of Sunset Boulevard, then got out of the Audi and ran away. The two officers who had been pursuing him gave chase, and two other officers in the area soon joined in the foot pursuit, Moore said.

Moore said Jones jumped a fence in the 1500 block of Hobart and appeared to drop a handgun. As he picked it back up and then stumbled to the ground, one of the officers fired a Taser at him, Moore said.

Moore said Jones, while on the ground, then fired the gun twice for “unknown reasons.” The second shot — some 15 seconds after the first — was to his own head, Moore said.

Jones was declared dead at the scene, Moore said. A 9-millimeter homemade polymer “ghost gun” was recovered, he said. Moore said none of the officers at the scene fired any weapons other than the single Taser deployment.

Moore said the incident and the officer’s use of the Taser remain under investigation.