Los Angeles police shot and killed a man who was allegedly armed with a
handgun Tuesday afternoon in Panorama City, LAPD officials said.
The shooting may be the first such encounter captured by the department's new
body cameras. The officers involved in the shooting were assigned to the Mission
Division, which was the first to receive the new technology just two weeks ago.
Lt. John Jenal, an LAPD spokesman, confirmed the officers were wearing the
cameras, but said Tuesday evening that investigators were still evaluating what
the devices may have captured.
"They're looking at that as we speak," Jenal said. "That's the whole purpose
-- to get evidence and transparency."
The events leading up to the shooting began about 2:45 p.m., Jenal said, when
a 911 caller reported a man with a gun near Willis Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard.
Officers began patrolling the area looking for the man, who was reported to have
been wearing beige clothing.
A little less than a half hour later, Jenal said, officers spotted someone
matching the description about a half a mile away, near Willis and Parthenia
Street. The man was carrying a beer at the time, Jenal said.
What happened in the moments leading up to the shooting were not immediately
known, but Jenal said that at some point the man "presented a handgun" that was
later found near his body.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. A Los Angeles fire
spokeswoman said paramedics took the body to the coroner's office for "crowd
control issues." She said a large, "possibly volatile" group was at the scene.
Jenal said an LAPD captain asked that the body be removed as a precaution to
"preclude trauma to the community and to preclude anything from getting out of
control in any way, shape or form."
Kevin Hernandez, 24, said he was at his house when he heard three gunshots.
He went outside and saw a bleeding man lying face down on the ground, his hands
cuffed behind his back. A gun was next to his body.
Hernandez said he watched the man move his head for several minutes as a
crowd started to form. Some people started shouting at the police, he said,
telling the officers to call an ambulance. Others got out their phones and
"Then he lost all color and he was gone," Hernandez said in Spanish.
Angelica Torros took a short video of the man after he had been shot. The
video, shot from some distance, shows what appears to be a gun and a beer can
near his body, but it's unclear from the clip whether he was moving.
Torros and others said crime was prevalent in the area. "There's too many
problems here," she said.
Some people were critical of the LAPD, saying police weren't doing enough to
keep the area safe. Others said they tried to keep their heads down and avoid
interacting with officers.
"I just go to work and go home and try to stay out of problems," said Rafael
Tavaras, a 39-year-old landscaper. "I don't mess with them, then they won't mess
Jenal said it was still unclear what the man was doing with the gun, noting
there were no initial reports of a robbery, assault or other crime that occurred
prior to the 911 call. The lieutenant said investigators had identified
witnesses and were searching nearby buildings for security cameras that may have
captured the shooting.
No officers were injured, Jenal said. The name of the man, thought to be in
his 30s, has not been released.
The man was the 29th person shot by LAPD officers this year. Fifteen,
including him, were killed.
LAPD officers shot 26 people in 2014, 18 fatally. But the numbers fluctuated
in years prior. Officers shot 35 people in 2013, 29 the year before and 47 in