Of­fi­cer IDd in Los Feliz shoot­ing

The LAPD re­leases name of of­fi­cer who shot and crit­i­cally wounded an un­armed man who had a cloth draped over his hands.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Kate Mather kate. mather@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ katemather

A week af­ter Los An­ge­les po­lice shot and crit­i­cally wounded an un­armed man whose hands were cov­ered with a cloth, depart­ment off icials on Fri­day iden­ti­fied the of­fi­cer who pulled the trig­ger.

The LAPD iden­ti­fied Cairo Pala­cios as the of­fi­cer who shot Wal­ter Wil­liam DeLeon, 48, along Los Feliz Boule­vard. Po­lice said DeLeon walked “ag­gres­sively” to­ward Pala­cios and his part­ner and pointed his hands at them, lead­ing the of­fi­cers to be­lieve he had a gun hid­den un­der the gray cloth.

DeLeon re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion on Fri­day.

Pala­cios pre­vi­ously worked as a sworn public safety of­fi­cer with the city’s Gen­eral Ser­vices Depart­ment, which pa­trolled parks, li­braries and other city­owned prop­er­ties. That depart­ment merged with the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment in 2013, part of then­Mayor An­to­nio Vil­laraigosa’s ef­fort to boost po­lice staffing to the 10,000- of­fi­cer mark.

Pala­cios be­gan work­ing with the Gen­eral Ser­vices Depart­ment af­ter he grad­u­ated from the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Academy in 2006, the LAPD said. He was as­signed to pa­trol Grif­fith Park as part of the LAPD’s Se­cu­rity Ser­vices Di­vi­sion, but was re­moved from the f ield af­ter Fri­day’s shoot­ing.

An at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Pala­cios said his client thought DeLeon had a gun and was go­ing to shoot the of­fi­cers, say­ing there were no in­di­ca­tions DeLeon was try­ing to get their help. At­tor­ney Gary Fuller­ton ac­knowl­edged that it can be dif­fi­cult for the public to grap­ple with po­lice shoot­ings of un­armed peo­ple, but said of­fi­cers have the right to pro­tect their own lives.

“The of­fi­cer, when he went up to hand­cuff the man, was shocked to f ind just the cloth there and noth­ing un­der the cloth,” Fuller­ton said. “It’s un­for­tu­nate, but you can’t ex­pect of­fi­cers to be clair­voy­ant and wait un­til they get shot at to ac­tu­ally know what this per­son is do­ing or think- ing.”

Fuller­ton said he be­lieved “100%” that Pala­cios fol­lowed LAPD pol­icy in the shoot­ing. But, he added, the of­fi­cers “were ob­vi­ously trau­ma­tized by what hap­pened be­cause no­body likes shoot­ing what ends up be­ing an un­armed man.”

DeLeon’s son told The Times he was stunned to learn his fa­ther had been shot by po­lice. Wil­liam DeLeon, 18, said his fa­ther of­ten walked with a towel to wipe away sweat.

Kevin Boyle, an at­tor­ney who is rep­re­sent­ing DeLeon’s chil­dren, said his f irm would “leave no stone un­turned” in its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the shoot­ing.

“From ev­ery­thing I have seen, this is a won­der­ful fam­ily and I would be ab­so­lutely shocked to learn that he was ap­proach­ing po­lice in some sort of an ag­gres­sive way,” he said. “Maybe he was feel­ing ill. He may have been re­port­ing a crime. It’s just un­known at this time.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the June 19 shoot­ing is on­go­ing. LAPD of­fi­cials have said Pala­cios and his part­ner were stuck in traf­fic along Los Feliz Boule­vard when they saw DeLeon walk­ing to­ward the road, with his arms ex­tended and his hands cov­ered by the cloth.

“DeLeon be­gan point­ing his arms to­ward the of­fi­cers and con­tin­ued walk­ing to­ward them in an ag­gres­sive man­ner,” an LAPD state­ment said. “Based on DeLeon’s ac­tions, the of­fi­cers be­lieved he was point­ing a gun to­ward them.”

The of­fi­cers got out of their car and or­dered DeLeon to drop what they thought was a weapon hid­den un­der the cloth, po­lice said. He didn’t com­ply and kept walk­ing to­ward them, the LAPD said, prompt­ing Pala­cios to open fire. No gun was found. It re­mains un­clear why DeLeon ap­proached the of­fi­cers. The LAPD has said no bro­ken- down car was found nearby and he had no in­jury to his hand in­di­cat­ing he needed help.

Po­lice have also said that sev­eral wit­nesses have backed the of­fi­cers’ ac­count. Res­i­dents who live in the area and who were in­ter­viewed by The Times said they saw the af­ter­math of the shoot­ing, when the of­fi­cers rolled DeLeon over and hand­cuffed him.

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