MAN FLAGS DOWN POLICE, IS SHOT
Officers in Los Feliz encounter thought the man had a gun, but he was unarmed.
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.