Crime & Justice

LAPD officers shoot, kill suspect after their vehicle's rear window shattered

The intersection of Victory Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys, where police shot and killed a suspect after having their rear window shattered on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
The intersection of Victory Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys, where police shot and killed a suspect after having their rear window shattered on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.

Los Angeles police say officers in Van Nuys shot and killed a suspect Saturday night after he threw a bottle through the rear window of their patrol car.

The car was stopped when the suspect threw a 40-oz beer bottle from behind, shattering the rear windshield, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told KPCC on Monday.

"It blew out the back window," Deputy Chief Bob Green told KPCC. "That got both of their adrenaline going."

The officers, who Smith described as veterans of the force, thought they were under attack, got out of the car, and an officer-involved shooting occurred.

The person who was shot and killed has been described as a man in his 30s, the Associated Press reports. His name has not been released.

Craig Lally is president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank and file LAPD cops. It's rare for a bottle to be thrown at a patrol car, Lally said.

“Even though it was a beer bottle, your mindset is you are being shot at, because it is pretty unusual," Lally said.

Attacks on police officers around the country have left cops on edge, Lally said.
 
“I’m sure they’re on heightened alert more than average because it seems like it's happening more often now," Lally said.

LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar said that this wouldn't be described as an ambush, as the officers were on their regular patrol and were not lured into the area.

The LAPD Force Investigation Division responded as is standard in situations like this, Aguilar said. They are conducting interviews with the officers involved, witnesses from the scene and continuing to collect evidence, including processing and examining the vehicle officers were driving that night. Investigators are also checking the area for surveillance cameras and any footage that may have been updated.

At least a couple of witnesses have already been identified, Aguilar said. The incident happened at a large commercial intersection.

The officers involved have been assigned home duty until they can see a psychologist and give a briefing on the shooting, at which point the chief will determine whether to return them to the field, Smith said.

"Hopefully, after the chief gets briefed on this, this week, hopefully there will be some more information," Aguilar said.

That briefing likely won't take place for at least a few days, Aguilar said.

This story has been updated.