Two LAPD officers under investigation for firing bullets into neighbors’ apartments
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating two recent incidents in which off-duty LAPD officers fired bullets into their neighbors’ apartments, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
No one was injured in either shooting, though the neighbors were home in one of the incidents, Moore told the department’s civilian oversight commission at its weekly meeting Tuesday. Both occurred outside L.A., though Moore did not say where.
The two shootings were among three “unintentional discharges” of firearms by LAPD officers between April 22 and April 28, a cluster that Moore called “unique.”
In the first incident, an off-duty officer recently out of the police academy and still in his probationary period was removing a gun from a holster at his home about 11:15 p.m. on April 22 when he inadvertently fired a round into the wall of his apartment, Moore said.
The round penetrated the wall and landed in an adjacent apartment. The occupants were not home, Moore said.
In the second incident, an off-duty officer had “just finished cleaning his pistol” at his apartment about 3:25 p.m. on April 27 when he fired a round into his apartment wall and into an adjoining apartment, Moore said.
Although two people were in that neighboring apartment, no one was injured, Moore said.
The third unintentional discharge, about 6:23 a.m. the next day, involved an on-duty traffic officer accidentally shooting a bullet into the floor of a detective squad room at the West Traffic Division while handling a co-worker’s firearm, Moore said.
Moore did not name any of the officers.
Moore said that the string of shootings in such a short period of time concerned him and that investigators had been advised to look for “any identified overlap” among them during their reviews of the cases, though none was expected.
“I’ll report back to the commission should there be any such anomalies,” he said.
Moore said the incidents heighten concerns for him that officers are not handling firearms properly. Another recent situation also worried Moore. In that one, he said, a body-worn camera video showed that an officer who had seized a firearm in the field handled it in unsafe ways.
Such incidents either reflect “carelessness or a lack of familiarity” by an officer with a firearm they are handling — both of which are unacceptable given the potential implications, Moore said.
“Guns do not fire by themselves. It takes involvement with an officer and his or her manipulation of that firearm,” Moore said.
Officers are required to report unintentional shootings to the department.
Moore said there were four unintentional shootings by officers in 2018, 11 in 2019, five in 2020 and eight in 2021. The three recent cases are the only unintentional shootings reported so far this year.
Moore said all three would be thoroughly investigated, with the findings brought before the commission. Commissioners also asked Moore to consider whether anything more could be done to prevent such incidents from occurring.
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