Of­fi­cers in Los Feliz en­counter thought the man had a gun, but he was un­armed.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Kate Mather and Richard Win­ton

Los An­ge­les po­lice shot and crit­i­cally wounded a man Fri­day in Los Feliz af­ter he ap­proached of­fi­cers and raised an arm he had wrapped in a towel, author­i­ties said.

Of­fi­cers thought the­man had a gun, but he turned out to be un­armed, po­lice said.

The in­ci­dent comes at a time when the Po­lice Depart­ment is grap­pling with a rash of con­tro­ver­sial shoot­ings.

In the latest en­counter, author­i­ties said the man flagged down of­fi­cers about 6:35 p.m. at Los Feliz Boule­vard and Tica Drive south of Grif­fith Park.

“This per­son ex­tended an arm wrapped in a towel,” Lt. John Je­nal said. “The of­fi­cer ex­ited the ve­hi­cle and said, ‘Drop the gun, drop the gun.’ ”

At that point, at least one of­fi­cer shot the­man, of­fi­cials said. He was taken to a hos­pi­tal, where he was listed in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

A mo­torist filmed graphic video of the of­fi­cers hand­cuff­ing the man with a vis­i­ble head in­jury. The footage was then cir­cu­lated on so­cial media.

LAPD Cmdr. An­drew Smith, a depart­ment spokesman, said the of­fi­cers fol­lowed stan­dard pro­to­col in hand­cuff­ing the man when­they did. At that point, Smith said, the man had not been searched and was con­sid­ered a sus­pect.

“We al­ways do that,” Smith said. “That’s the pol­icy ... to hand­cuff some­one in a sit­u­a­tion like that.”

Smith cau­tioned that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the shoot­ing was still in its early stages.

One of the key ques­tions, he said, was why the man flagged down the two uni­formed of­fi­cers.

The man was stand­ing on the side of the road, Smith said, when he called out to the of­fi­cers: “Po­lice, po­lice.”

Smith said in­ves­ti­ga­tors would ex­plore all pos­si­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing whether the man needed some type of help frompo­lice.

He said in­ves­ti­ga­tors would also look into the man’s back­ground to see if there were any in­di­ca­tions the shoot­ing was an at­tempted “sui­cide by cop.”

The man’s name has not been re­leased.

“We cover ev­ery­thing. Our in­ves­ti­ga­tors leave no stone un­turned,” Smith said. “We don’t have any idea about this guy’s back­ground. We just don’t know yet.”

Ear­lier in the day, of­fi­cers wounded aman in El Monte af­ter he got out of a car cov­ered in a blan­ket and then bran­dished a gun at po­lice. The man, who was crit­i­cally in­jured, had led LAPD of­fi­cers on a two-hour chase that be­gan in South L.A. af­ter he al­legedly as­saulted a woman.

Smith said in­ves­ti­ga­tors would ex­am­ine whether the of­fi­cers in­volved in the Los Feliz shoot­ing were aware of the ear­lier in­ci­dent.

The of­fi­cers in the Los Feliz shoot­ing were as­signed to the LAPD’s Se­cu­rity Ser­vices di­vi­sion — a de­tail that typ­i­cally pro­vides se­cu­rity at city fa­cil­i­ties, Smith said.

Ex­cept for a small strip of yel­low po­lice tape tied to a porch rail­ing, there were no signs Satur­day morn­ing that a shoot­ing had oc­curred in the neigh­bor­hood.

The shoot­ing hap­pened along a stretch of Los Feliz Boule­vard pop­u­lar among jog­gers and peo­ple walk­ing their dogs, not far from a stretch of restau­rants draw­ing week­end brunch crowds.

Kelsey Mag­nu­son, 31, has lived in the build­ing across the street from where the shoot­ing oc­curred for al­most10 years.

She said she was sur­prised when she learned of the shoot­ing Fri­day, given how safe the area feels.

It’s the kind of neigh­bor­hood where some­one can step out­side their build­ing for a late-night cig­a­rette and not feel threat­ened, she said.

“I’ve never felt like there would be any­thing wor­ri­some here,” she said. “It makes you won­der what the com­mo­tion was.”

The Los Feliz shoot­ing marks the latest of sev­eral high-pro­file po­lice shoot­ings.

Last week, the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Com­mis­sion con­cluded that one of the two L.A. po­lice of­fi­cers who fa­tally shot Ezell Ford, a men­tally ill blackman, last sum­mer was not jus­ti­fied in us­ing deadly force.

LAPD re­ports found that Ford and the of­fi­cer were strug­gling over the of­fi­cer’s weapon.

But the com­mis­sion de­cided that the of­fi­cer hadn’t had a rea­son to stop and de­tain Ford in the first place.

His han­dling of the en­counter, the com­mis­sion con­cluded, was so flawed that it led to the fa­tal con­fronta­tion.

The LAPD is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fa­tal po­lice shoot­ing of an un­armed home­less black man near the Venice board­walk in May.

Po­lice Chief Char­lie Beck has said he was “very con­cerned” about the May 5 shoot­ing.

The shoot­ing oc­curred af­ter of­fi­cers were called to Wind­ward Av­enue near the board­walk about11:20 p.m.

A caller had re­ported a home­less man— later iden­ti­fied as Bren­don Glenn — whowas “ha­rass­ing cus­tomers” out­side a build­ing, LAPD of­fi­cials said. The two of­fi­cers talked to Glenn briefly.

When Glenn walked to­ward the board­walk, the of­fi­cers re­turned to their pa­trol car. Soon af­ter, po­lice said, the of­fi­cers saw Glenn “phys­i­cally strug­gling” with a bouncer out­side a bar.

The of­fi­cers ap­proached the man and tried to de­tain him, po­lice said, lead­ing to a “phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion” that ended with one of the of­fi­cers open­ing fire.

The LAPD, the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice and the Po­lice Com­mis­sion’s in­spec­tor gen­eral are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the killing, as is rou­tine in fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings.

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