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LAPD Chief Beck 'concerned' about officer-involved shooting of unarmed man in Venice

Police say officers responding to a 911 call found a man in his 20s arguing with a bouncer outside a bar and that the officers opened fire when an altercation ensued.
Screenshot from KNBC-TV
Police say officers responding to a 911 call found a man in his 20s arguing with a bouncer outside a bar and that the officers opened fire when an altercation ensued.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he is "concerned" about Tuesday night's shooting of an unarmed black man near the Venice Boardwalk.

"It takes an extreme set of circumstances for a Los Angeles Police officer to become involved in a shooting with an unarmed individual," Beck said at a press conference Wednesday. "At this point in the investigation, we don’t see those circumstances.”

The man, who was suspected of harassing passersby near the boardwalk, was approached by two LAPD officers late Tuesday night.

After police spoke with the suspect, he walked away towards the boardwalk, and the officers walked back to their patrol vehicle, according to an LAPD statement.

Soon thereafter, the officers saw the man fighting with a bar bouncer on the sidewalk and returned to talk to him. A struggle ensued, during which "an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) occurred," police said in a statement.

Paramedics administered CPR on the man and transported him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The man was unarmed, police said. He was identified by the L.A. County Coroner only as being in his 20s.

Chief Beck said that investigators had not interviewed the officer involved in the shooting, who is on pain medication for a knee injury sustained during the altercation.

Beck said he had viewed surveillance video of the incident that shows the altercation described by the officers.

"We will expend all resources to find out the truth of what happened last night on Windward Avenue,'' Beck said. "We will get to the bottom of this."

A town hall meeting will be held with LAPD officials and inspector general at the Westminster Avenue Elementary School on Abbot Kinney Boulevard at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Multiple police shootings

The officer-involved shooting in Venice was one of several reported in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday. One incident resulted in a suspect being hospitalized in critical condition and another ended in a fatality.

South LA

At around the same time as the Venice incident, an LAPD officer shot a Hispanic man in his early to mid-20s. The man had pointed a gun at police in South L.A., according to Sgt. Frank Preciado.

Officers with the elite Metropolitan Division were attempting to stop the man when he ran about 100 feet and disappeared between two buildings in the 5800 block of Broadway Boulevard, said Preciado.

“The officer looks up and now the suspect is on the rooftop of a second story building pointing his firearm at the officer,” he said. The officer opened fire.

After the LAPD set up a perimeter around the building, the man "came out with his hands up. He had been hit in the torso," said Preciado.

The man is in critical but stable condition at the hospital, Preciado said.

“The officers recovered a handgun at the rear of the building.”

Neither the man nor the officer has been identified.

The department has increased patrols in crime “hot spots” using Metro officers, part of LAPD's response to a recent spike in crime, Preciado said.

He said the officer who opened fire was not one of the 200 new Metro cops added to the department under a plan unveiled by Mayor Eric Garcetti last month.

Those officers will start hitting the streets later this month, Preciado said.

South El Monte

In South El Monte, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man who was attacking a man with a meat cleaver Tuesday, according to the department.

L.A. Sheriff's Deputies were responding to calls of an assault with a deadly weapon Tuesday afternoon when they came upon a woman bleeding from the head in the 10400 block of Enloe Street.

“The deputy’s attention was then directed to the suspect who was standing in a flower bed outside the front door to the residence … and realized the suspect was hacking a male with a meat cleaver,” according to a statement from the Sheriff's Dept.

“The suspect then raised the meat cleaver and charged at the deputy,” before he was shot, the statement said.  He then charged at deputies a second time and was shot again. 

He was pronounced dead at the scene. The man he was hacking also died.

It appears that the suspect was a neighbor of the victims, who are husband and wife. Neither of the victims, nor the alleged assailant, has yet been identified.

This story has been updated.