ABRIDGED SUMMARY OF AN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING AND FINDINGS BY THE LOS ANGELES BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS
Officer-Involved Shooting – 108-08
Reason for Police Contact
While off-duty, officer intervened when the subject pointed a gun at two individuals and then carjacked another individual.
Officer A was driving out of state, accompanied by relatives. Officer A was off-duty and wearing civilian clothing. Officer A stopped at a truck stop to use the restroom. Officer A and his relative, Witness A, entered the convenience store area and walked to the rear of the store.
Meanwhile, the subject produced a handgun from his waist area, pointed it at Witness B (cashier) and demanded the money from the cash register. After taking the money from Witness B, the subject walked from the service counter and exited the building through its north doors.
Officer A finished using the restroom facilities, exited the north doors and waited for Witness A.
As the subject left the building, Officer A heard “911” over the store’s PA system. Officer A then observed the subject go north through the parking lot, chased by Witness C and Witness D.
Forming the opinion that a minor crime had occurred, Officer A decided not involve himself in the foot pursuit and maintained his position by the door in order to act as a witness.
The subject continued north through the parking lot, passing by the gasoline pumps. As he ran, the subject turned and pointed a blue steel handgun toward Witness C and Witness D. According to Officer A, “the suspect, he drew a gun on the other two gentlemen that went after him, and I thought that he was going to shoot at them for going after him.”
Officer A, fearing for the safety of Witness C and Witness D, drew his pistol from the holster on his right hip. Officer A verbally identified himself as a police officer and ordered the subject to stop, but the subject continued to flee. Officer A made his way north through the parking lot, using parked vehicles for cover as he did so.
The subject attempted to carjack an RV but was unsuccessful.
The subject then began to carjack another car and pulled the driver out and pointed his gun at the driver who was on the ground.
Officer A made his way down a landscaped slope at the southwest corner of the intersection and took a kneeling position in the lowest point of a drainage ditch at the side of the road, approximately 63 feet from the Chevrolet Cobalt.
Fearing for the safety of the prostrate driver, Officer A fired two rounds from his pistol in a “controlled pair” at the subject from a distance of 63 feet
, then reassessed. Officer A then rapidly fired five additional rounds at the subject. Officer A believed that the Chevrolet Cobalt remained stationary throughout his firing sequence. The Chevrolet Cobalt, driven by the subject, then turned left into the intersection and drove out of Officer A’s field of vision.
Witnesses disagreed about whether the vehicle was moving when the first two shots were fired. All witnesses agreed the vehicle was moving when the second burst of five shots was fired
Note: Impacts revealed that a total of four rounds struck the vehicle, two struck its passenger side and two struck from the rear. The reported trajectories of the impacts are consistent with the vehicle negotiating a left turn during the sequence of fire.
Officer A, along with Witness E, walked back to the rest stop. Due to several 911 calls regarding the robbery, the local police department responded to the scene. Officer A identified himself to uniformed outside agency Officer B and provided a Public Safety Statement.
Later, the stolen Chevrolet Cobalt was located in a parking lot approximately one mile north of the scene of the officer-involved shooting (OIS). A black Airsoft replica of a Sig-Sauer 9mm semiautomatic pistol was recovered
from the right front floorboard of the stolen vehicle. The area was searched for the subject but he was not located and remains unidentified.
Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners’ Findings
Basis for Findings
C. Lethal Use of Force Officer A fired seven rounds at the subject in defense of a victim at whom Officer A saw the subject pointing a pistol, presenting an apparently deadly threat.
Although Officer A believed he fired all seven rounds while the vehicle stolen by the subject was still stationary, the physical evidence and witness statements support that the vehicle was in motion at the time at least when some of the rounds were fired.
In determining whether Officer A’s use of lethal force was compliant with the Department policy regarding shooting at moving vehicles, human reaction/response time was considered. Scientific research regarding the time it can take for an officer to react to the cessation of a threat has demonstrated that additional rounds may be fired during a brief period of time during which the officer is still processing and reacting to the change in threat level. The BOPC believed that this could account for Officer A’s perception that the vehicle was stationary throughout the time he fired his rounds.
The BOPC found Officer A’s use of Lethal Force to be in policy.