Officer-involved shootings are on the rise at the LAPD: 20 people were shot by officers so far this year compared with an average of 15 or 16 during the first half of other recent years, according to officials. Nine people have died so far this year.
“It is a tough year in policing,” said Assistant Chief Michael Moore. He declined to talk about individual incidents, and noted violent crime is also up around the city.
The number climbed this week - a violent one where law enforcement officers across Los Angeles County fatally shot six people by Friday afternoon. Three people were killed by Sheriff’s deputies, two by LAPD officers, and one by a West Covina police officer.
According to police accounts, two people advanced on officers with knives, one pulled a gun, and one used a car to ram officers. One man allegedly reached for a deputy’s gun.
In one unusual case, a man allegedly took the Taser away from an officer and used it on him during a struggle. All of the people shot were men between the ages of 27 and 46.
Moore said the LAPD plans more training in the next few weeks to remind officers “they use time and cover and distance” from suspects to deescalate situations when possible. “The preservation of life is one of our most sanctimonious values.”
At the same time, he insists there is no epidemic of police shootings.
“The message out there is disproportionate to what is reality,” he said.
Chief Charlie Beck has raised concerns about one LAPD shooting this year. He called the police shooting of Brendon Glenn in Venice “troubling.” Glenn, a homeless man, was unarmed.
In another ten cases this year, LAPD officers fired their guns but missed their targets.
Sheriff’s officials were not immediately available for comment on the recent spate of shootings.
Fatal Police Shootings July 3-9:
- LAPD: July 9, 8:40 a.m. Mid Wilshire. Police said a 38-year-old man, who has yet to be identified, refused officers’ orders to stop breaking storefront windows with his skateboard. During a “violent struggle” that ensued, the man allegedly grabbed one officer’s Taser and used it on the officer, according to the LAPD. That’s when the second officer shot him in the head. A witness told KPCC the man was pinned down on the ground when the officer fired and the shooting seemed “excessive.” The witness said the unidentified man looked “disheveled” and homeless.
- LAPD: July 6, 11 a.m., Sylmar. Jason Hendley, 29. Police said officers were responding to a call of a possible assault when Hendley emerged from a home covered in blood and wielding a knife. Officers shot him after he refused ordered to drop the knife and advanced toward them, according to the LAPD. Police found a man stabbed by Hendley inside the home. That man died from his wounds.
- LA Sheriff: July 6, 10:40 a.m. Lakewood John Leonard Berry, 31. Sheriff’s officials say deputies were responding to reports of a man acting strangely after not taking his medications when they came upon Berry in his car. When they tried to question him, he allegedly tried to crash into a patrol car and pinned a deputy between the cars. Deputies used pepper spray and a Taser before four of them opened fire on Berry, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
- LA Sheriff: July 5, 9:30 p.m. Hawaiian Gardens. Johnny Ray Anderson, 42. Sheriff’s officials said deputies were responding to reports of gang members inside a vacant house and a prowler when they came upon Anderson in a side yard of a home. During a struggle, he allegedly tried to grab a deputy’s gun. An attorney for Anderson’s family, Ralph Rios, offered a starkly different account. He told the Los Angeles Times that a witness told him Anderson was trying to put his hands in the air when the deputy fired from 20 feet away. Anderson was living with his wife in an abandoned home in the area.
- West Covina Police: July 3, 8 p.m. Cesar Antonio Limon Juarez, 27. Police said officers were responding to reports of a stabbing when they found a man stabbed in an apartment. They found the suspect nearby wielding “a large kitchen knife,” police said. They Tased him but he allegedly continued to advance toward officers when one officer shot him in the chest.
- LA Sheriff: July 3, 11:30 p.m. Lancaster. Arturo Lopez, 46. Sheriff’s officials said Lopez pulled a semi-automatic pistol out from under his jacket when gang detectives from the Operation Safe Streets Bureau tried to stop him on the street.