A month after beer bottle shooting, officials name slain man and officers involved

LAPD fatally shot a man in Van Nays after he threw a beer bottle at their patrol car, police said. 

A month after Los Angeles police killed a man after he allegedly threw a beer bottle through a patrol car window, authorities have identified the 45-year-old and the two officers who shot him.

James Joseph Byrd died the night of Oct. 3 after he was shot multiple times by police, a coroner’s spokesman said Thursday. The Los Angeles Police Department identified the two officers as Zackary Goldstein and Andrew Hacoupian, both seven-year veterans of the department.




3:10 p.m.: The headline on an earlier version of this post said the LAPD identified the slain man and officers involved in his shooting. LAPD identified the officers. The L.A. County coroner’s office identified the man.


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Coroner’s officials spent weeks trying to track down Byrd’s family to notify them of his death, spokesman Ed Winter said. After sending letters to several possible relatives, Winter said, investigators were able to contact one of Byrd’s cousins and make the notification.

Coroner’s officials typically make such family notifications before publicly releasing the name of someone who died.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith, an LAPD spokesman, said the department waited to release the officers’ names until investigators determined there were no credible threats against the officers’ safety. The California Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement agencies must generally provide the names of officers involved in shootings unless they can demonstrate such threats exist.

Police say Goldstein and Hacoupian were stopped at a red light in Van Nuys when the back window of their black-and-white police cruiser shattered. Fearing they were under fire, the LAPD said, the officers bailed out of the car and fired at a nearby man they believed was responsible.

The man, Byrd, died at the scene.

When investigators searched his body and the nearby scene, they didn’t find a gun or any other weapon. Instead, police said, they determined that he had shattered the patrol car’s window by throwing a 40-ounce beer bottle.

An attorney representing the officers previously told The Times that the pair had seen a video of a man flashing a gun behind an LAPD officer and had been warned that they might be ambushed from behind.

Attorney Gary Fullerton said the video was discussed in at least two roll call meetings that the officers attended, including one the same day as the shooting. Fullerton said that after the shooting, the officers told investigators they thought they were being attacked because of the video they had seen.

“Both officers were very focused on that,” Fullerton said. “When the window got blown out, they looked at each other and said, ‘We’re being shot at.’”

The LAPD later determined that the video wasn’t a threat against officers but a promotional video filmed by an early 1990s rap group trying to make a comeback.

Byrd was one of 33 people shot by LAPD officers this year. Eighteen were killed.

Follow @katemather and @nicolesantacruz for more coverage of this shooting.


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