Man Shot By LAPD In Leimert Park Was Holding Auto Part, Not Gun

Days after Los Angeles police fatally shot a 39-year-old man in Leimert Park, neighbors and others are demanding answers about why officers opened fire in a residential area on someone who, according to the authorities, was no longer armed.

Authorities have so far released few details about the Monday night shooting of Jermaine Petit in the area of ​​Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and South Bronson Avenue.

At a press conference the evening of the incident, an LAPD spokesperson said the man was carrying a “weapon” when police encountered him stepping on King, but did not provide no further clarification. The department later retracted that statement in a press release, saying a “black metal lock actuator” was recovered from the scene.

Petit, who was taken to hospital in serious condition, is expected to survive, police said.

It was the LAPD’s 20th shooting of the year, a quarter of which took place this month.

Deshonay Howard said she was parked outside her house across the street when she saw Petit drive past a bus stop near King and Degnan Boulevard, and noticed he was being followed by several vehicles police with their lights and sirens off.

“We all heard him say ‘I don’t have anything’ and he started running,” she said, adding that she had seen police shoot him three times as he had his back turned.

In its press release Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Department said Southwest Division patrol officers and a uniformed supervisor believed they were dealing with someone armed with a handgun after responding to a call “assault with a deadly weapon”.

A man who matched the suspect’s description, later identified as Petit, did not respond to officers’ orders, police said.

“As the suspect walked away from the officers, he turned in their direction several times and pointed at a black metal object believed to be a firearm” before officers opened fire, according to the LAPD statement. .

After the shooting, Howard said, officers gathered behind a shield with guns still drawn and moved toward Petit, whom she didn’t know by name but recognized from seeing him in the neighborhood. .

In the days that followed, she tried not to think about what had happened, but worried about her daughters’ well-being.

The two little girls were playing in front of their house on King; her eldest daughter was riding her scooter but stopped when she heard officers yelling at Petit, Howard said.

“The fact that the police did not take [time] look back and see there were kids playing,” Howard said, frustration creeping into his voice. “My neighbor was outside trimming her hedges.”

Taiyyeba Skomra was playing a word game with her husband and 8-year-old daughter when they heard three gunshots outside. Her daughter immediately hid under the sofa, while Skomra and her husband peeked outside to see Petit lying on the ground, surrounded by officers.

“He had nothing in his hands and they were yelling at him to turn around,” she said. “There were a lot of police gathering, then finally someone with a shield, they approached him.”

After a few minutes, officers turned Petit over and handcuffed him, she said. They removed a backpack he was carrying, spilling its contents onto the street.

She said she spent the next few hours trying to stay calm for her young daughter, who was crying uncontrollably.

“She wouldn’t even come out from under the couch,” Skomra said. “I don’t know what comes of that other than terrorizing the neighborhood.”

Skomra said a cousin of Petit who lives nearby told him Petit was a military veterinarian who was afraid of officers after previous run-ins with law enforcement.

Speaking at the Police Commission’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said officers recovered an auto part known as a “lock actuator,” but did not clarified why officers arrested Petit in the first place or how they mistook the piece for a weapon.

The names of the officers involved are expected to be released in the coming days.

The incident will be reviewed by LAPD investigators and the findings presented to the Police Commission. These investigations generally take several months and can last up to a year. According to ministry policy, the video that investigators collect must be released within 45 days.

Los Angeles Times

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