LOS ANGELES—Five recent shootings by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers involved violent actions by armed suspects, a trend that the LAPD has characterized as being “consistent with the increase in violence we are experiencing in the city.”
“The violent situations in these five [officer-involved shooting] incidents are unique given the number of hostage situations,” police said in a statement. “Four of the five incidents involved hostage situations where officers were thrust into evolving incidents where a hostage was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. The other factor is the number of suspects experiencing a mental illness.”
According to the LAPD, the number of homicides in the city has increased by 17 percent over 2020, and the number of victims suffering gunshot wounds increased by 19 percent when compared with 2020.
As of Oct. 25, there have been 30 officer-involved shootings, and 33 percent of them involved a suspect with a “perceived mental illness,” police said.
That figure exceeds the total percentages for similar situations in 2017 and 2020—32 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
“The number of persons who are in and out of treatment for mental illnesses and who are oftentimes released from institutions without an adequate support system in place upon release has exacerbated the high levels of violence we are experiencing in the city,” police said.
“Lastly, 10 of the 30 OIS incidents for 2021 involved suspects armed with an edged weapon compared to the totals for 2020 and 2017 where we noted 7 and 8 suspects armed with edged weapons respectively.”
On Oct. 1 at about 7 p.m., Newton Division officers responded to a radio call of a female with a mental illness. Officers learned that a woman was inside the residence holding her 10-year-old son at knifepoint.
The woman refused to come out of the residence, and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) personnel were requested. While awaiting the arrival of SWAT officers, the woman began stabbing her son, resulting in an officer-involved shooting.
The woman was struck by gunfire and was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. The 10-year-old suffered multiple stab wounds and was hospitalized in stable condition.
On Oct. 2 at about 11 a.m., a woman was walking near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue when a suspect approached and stabbed her in the abdomen. Friends of the woman flagged down an LAPD sergeant who requested additional units.
The suspect was given directions by officers, but he didn’t comply. While armed with the knife, he moved toward the officers, resulting in an officer-involved shooting and the use of a beanbag shotgun.
The suspect was struck by both gunfire and the beanbag round. Both the woman who had been stabbed and the suspect were transported to local hospitals for medical treatment.
On Oct. 6 at about 10:45 p.m., Central Patrol Division and Central Traffic Division officers responded to a report of a “female armed with a firearm” near Arcadia and Spring streets. Officers spoke with a community member who told them the suspect was inside a tent in a homeless encampment.
“While officers were trying to communicate with the suspect, she fired multiple shots at officers over the course of several minutes,” police said. “Around 11:45 p.m., while waiting for additional resources, including SWAT personnel, the suspect came out of a tent holding a hostage. While outside of the tent with the hostage, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The suspect was struck by gunfire and fell to the ground.
She was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. The hostage was not injured.
On Oct. 8 at about 4:10 p.m., LAPD Central Patrol Division began to receive calls regarding a suspect involved in multiple violent crimes. The first incident occurred around 3:45 p.m. at 8th Street and Broadway.
The suspect had pointed a handgun at a victim’s head, pressing it against the victim’s face, and pulled the trigger. The handgun didn’t fire. The suspect went to a business in the 700 block of South Broadway. He shot at a group inside the business and a 14-year-old victim suffered a graze wound to his head.
Following the shooting, the suspect attempted to kidnap and carjack a victim, but the vehicle wouldn’t start.
The suspect then ran to Seventh and Spring streets, where he pushed a victim off a bicycle and brandished a handgun.
“As officers arrived in the area, security guards directed officers to the suspect who fled into an apartment building in the 500 block of South Main Street. Officers established a perimeter and began requesting additional resources including … SWAT personnel,” police said.
Officers then learned that the suspect had taken a female hostage and was holding her at gunpoint inside an apartment. The suspect was seen pointing the handgun at the hostage’s head.
SWAT personnel forced entry into the apartment and an officer-involved shooting occurred. The suspect was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene. The handgun he was armed with was recovered by investigators.
On Oct. 13 at about 5:50 a.m., LAPD Pacific Division officers responded to calls reporting a suspect was threatening a female family member with a knife. As officers approached the apartment occupied by the suspect and the woman, they heard a woman “yelling in distress,” police said.
“Fearing for the safety of the woman, they forced entry into the apartment. Inside the apartment they saw the suspect armed with a knife, swinging it at the woman; at that time there was an officer-involved shooting,” police said.
The wounded man died at a hospital, police said.
“Reverence for human life is the guiding principle in the Department’s use of force policy,” police said. “De-escalation, the use of alternatives, and utilizing time remain of critical importance. Each incident will be investigated and evaluated separately, based on evidence gathered including statements of witnesses and the involved officers as well as body-worn video.
“The Department will provide individual critical incident community briefing videos for each instance in the coming weeks as information is gathered,” police said. “Once the investigations are completed, the Chief of Police will provide his findings and recommendations to the Board of Police Commissioners.”