A man was fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Tuesday after allegedly firing a gun at paramedics and then shooting at officers from inside an apartment, police said.
LAPD officers have now shot or shot seven people in 2022, killing four of them.
Los Angeles Fire Department personnel knocked on the apartment door after responding to a “medical emergency” report in the 100 block of West 5th Street around 8:30 a.m. That’s when the man came out armed with a handgun, causing the paramedics to leave the scene and call the police, said Capt. Kelly Muniz, an LAPD spokesperson.
When Central Division officers arrived, the man exited the apartment a second time and allegedly pointed the gun at the officers, Muniz said.
Those officers also stood down and called in the LAPD SWAT unit as well as a system-wide mental assessment, or SMART, response team. These teams, 12 in number in the city, combine LAPD officers with specially trained medical clinicians to handle calls involving people with mental illness.
Muniz said she did not know the nature of the medical emergency initially reported. The man was not identified on Tuesday.
Officers established a perimeter around the location and began trying to negotiate with the man to come out unarmed, to no avail, Muniz said.
“They made several attempts to try to get in touch with the individual, and he did not correspond with them in any way,” she said.
The SWAT unit then decided to deploy tear gas into the fifth-floor apartment, Muniz said. After that, the man allegedly came to the window and fired a single bullet out of the apartment in the direction of officers, Muniz said.
Police returned fire, beating the man, Muniz said. She said she didn’t know how many officers fired.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene, where Muniz said a gun was also recovered. The incident caused the closure of East Main Street from 3rd to 6th Street and 5th Street from Los Angeles Avenue to Spring Street.
The shooting will be investigated and the findings will be presented to the LAPD Civilian Oversight Commission. These investigations often take up to a year. Available video of the encounter must be released within 45 days, per LAPD policy.
LAPD shootings involving the mentally ill are on the rise.
LAPD officers opened fire 37 times in 2021, killing 18 people, which is a substantial increase from 27 shootings by officers, including seven fatalities, in 2020.
The 2021 shootings involved 17 people perceived to have mental illness, a substantial increase from the six people with perceived mental illness who were shot in 2020.
In light of last year’s increase, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the department is auditing its training on the use of lethal force. It has also pledged to build its capacity to send out SMART teams more often to try to de-escalate tense situations, he said. Other such teams would be funded by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget for the LAPD.
Critics say the department isn’t serious about ending police shootings. They argue that, rather than receiving more money, the LAPD should be starved of funding so that alternative social services, including for the mentally ill, can be funded more heavily.
Los Angeles Times