Updated at 2:29 p.m.
A man who allegedly hit an Azusa police officer with a shovel during a confrontation was hospitalized in stable condition today after being shot by police, in what authorities said was his second violent altercation with officers in two weeks.
It happened in the 5400 block of North Conwell Avenue in unincorporated Citrus about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Sara Rodriguez said.
The wounded man was identified as Jose Jesus Juarez, 45, of Azusa, and possible charges are pending against him, according to the Azusa Police Department.
According to Azusa police, Juarez had been arrested June 12 by officers investigating a report of people drinking alcohol and loitering at the Edgewood Shopping Center in the 200 block of East Gladstone Street.
On Wednesday night, two officers were on patrol on Conwell Avenue when they saw Juarez walking in the area, Rodriguez said.
“The suspect ran from the officers and hid behind a vehicle,” Rodriguez said. “The suspect ran from the officers again, and into the driveway of a residence as the officers followed him on foot.
“While in the driveway of the residence, the suspect armed himself with a yard rake and threw it at the officers,” Rodriguez said. “He then armed himself, again, with a shovel and began swinging it at the officers multiple times, striking one of the officers in the chest area, and an officer-involved shooting occurred.
“During the altercation with the suspect, a Taser was deployed and proved to be ineffective on the suspect,” Rodriguez said. Beanbag rounds also were used, authorities said.
The June 12 incident occurred shortly after 4 p.m., when two officers were walking through the shopping center because extra patrols had been ordered “due to chronic complaints about people loitering in the area and drinking alcohol,” a police statement said.
“During the extra patrol they saw two male adults sitting near the front of a business. Suspect Juarez was drinking from a container concealed in a plastic bag,” the statement said.
“After looking in the direction of the officers, the suspects got up and began walking away. Juarez then dropped his beverage and officers contacted him. during the contact, it was confirmed both suspects had been drinking alcoholic beverages,” police said.
Two other officers responded to assist, and officers “determined that Juarez was intoxicated to a degree he could not care for his own safety or the safety of others,” police said.
“As officers were preparing to arrest Juarez, he clenched his fists and refused to comply with lawful requests from officers. He was given several opportunities to cooperate, but he suddenly turned and ran,” police said.
“Officers quickly caught up to Juarez and he struggled with them. They fell to the ground where Juarez violently fought with the officers, attempting to punch and kick them,” police said.
During the struggle, Juarez allegedly tried to remove an officer’s Taser from its holster, police said.
“He then grabbed the officer’s (pepper) spray, successfully pulling it from the officer’s duty belt. At this time, two officers struck Juarez in an attempt to defend themselves from his attack,” police said.
“Although this stopped Juarez from punching and kicking officers, he continued to resist and struggle. He also slammed his own face into the ground several times while making statements about wanting to kill himself,” police said.
Officers eventually used a Taser to subdue Juarez and take him into custody, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.
Anyone with information on either incident involving Juarez, including any photos or video, was urged to call police at (626) 812-3200; or use the Azusa police website and click on the “anonymous tip” logo.
The shooting was the second officer-involved shooting in four days for Azusa police officers.
A 24-year-old Azusa man named Adrian Simental was fatally shot by officers around 1 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of East Lee Drive. He was reported to have been breaking into a residence.
—City News Service