Few details in three recent fatal LAPD shootings
On Tuesday morning, Lara Anne Piszczek was standing with a friend outside a doughnut shop off West Anaheim Street in Wilmington when a man with a gun approached.
He was acting bizarre, she recalled, screaming unintelligibly and threatening to shoot them before running off. Piszczek suspected he might have been high on drugs.
A short time later and a few blocks from where Piszczek stood, a man was shot and killed by Los Angeles police — the second fatal shooting by LAPD officers in four days.
Police officials have released few details about the shooting. The man, whose name has not been released, died after being taken to a hospital.
There’s no doubt in Piszczek’s mind that the man killed by police was the same man who accosted her. While she admitted the run-in left her rattled, the fact that police shot the man didn’t sit well with her, either.
“That’s sad,” she said, recalling the episode as she sat outside a recycling facility next to the doughnut shop. “Why couldn’t they shoot him in the leg?”
If they believe deadly force is needed to stop someone, police are trained to fire at the person’s torso.
An LAPD news release said that officers were called Tuesday morning to the 600 block of Anaheim Street for a report of a person with a gun. When they arrived, police said, the officers confronted an armed suspect in a nearby alley, where the shooting occurred. A police spokeswoman said that no officers were injured and a gun was recovered at the scene.
Investigators are still trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to the shooting, including whether the man fired at officers, the spokeswoman said.
By Wednesday morning, the police tape had come down, leaving no indication of the violent encounter that had unfolded along the stretch of liquor stores, taquerias and check cashing businesses.
Eduardo Velez, who runs an outlet store with his wife, said that the two of them heard what sounded like fireworks shortly after getting to work Tuesday but wrote it off as kids setting off fireworks left over from the Fourth of July holiday. The couple learned about the shooting hours later, when investigators showed up asking to review the store’s exterior security cameras.
Details about another deadly police shooting days before in South L.A. have been similarly scant.
In that incident, which happened about 9:45 p.m. Saturday in the area of 36th Place and Maple Avenue, police said officers shot an armed man after he refused to follow their commands. Before the man was shot, police fired at least one rubber bullet at him and he fell to the ground but did not drop the firearm, according to police. He died later at a nearby hospital and a firearm was recovered at the scene, police said.
On Thursday night, after this article was first published online, an LAPD officer shot and killed a person in Sawtelle. After police responded around 5 p.m. to a report of a person armed with a knife near Pico and Sawtelle boulevards, the person charged at an officer, who opened fire, the LAPD said in a statement on Twitter.
The person died after being taken to a hospital, and a knife was at the scene, police said.
The Times could not independently verify any of the three police accounts.
The incidents will be investigated by LAPD investigators and the findings presented to the LAPD’s civilian oversight commission. Such investigations typically take several months and can last up to a year. Under a department policy, video that investigators collect of a shooting should be released within 45 days.
After reaching a 30-year low in 2019, the number of police shootings has gone up each of the last two years. In 2021, LAPD officers opened fire 37 times, killing 18 people, a substantial increase from the 27 shootings by officers, seven of them fatal, the year before.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore has said the department is reviewing how it trains officers on the use of lethal force in light of last year’s increase.
Times staff writer Christian Martinez contributed to this report.
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