Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department SWAT Team. Photo by John Schreiber.
Example of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team. Photo by John Schreiber.

Members of a Los Angeles police SWAT team entered a house in Winnetka Friday in which an armed man was thought to have been barricaded after pointing a gun at police, but the suspect was not inside, authorities said.

The man had run into the home in which he and his girlfriend apparently had been squatting near Oso Avenue and Leadwell Street, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

Officer Sal Lopez of the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division said the man had pointed a gun at police officers who had attempted to stop him in that area at 10:48 p.m. Thursday, but the man did not shoot. The suspect then ran from police and entered the home.

According to the LAPD, a woman who was inside the residence, believed to be the suspect’s girlfriend, ran outside and told officers she thought the man was hiding inside.

SWAT officers surrounded the residence, and around 4:45 a.m. they fired tear gas into the structure. About 6:15 a.m., the officers entered and determined that the suspect was not inside, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said.

Police said they believe they know the identity of the suspect, who remained at large.

Winnetka was previously the scene of a tragedy for the LAPD SWAT team, which suffered one officer killed and one wounded on Feb. 7, 2008, in the 19800 block of Welby Way. Killed was 51-year-old Officer Randal Simmons, the only member of the LAPD SWAT team — which came into being in 1967 —  ever killed on duty, while 51-year-old Officer James Veenstra was wounded by shots in the face and jaw. Two other officers suffered minor injuries.

Edwin Rivera, 20, who earlier had killed his father and two older brothers, was identified as the shooter and killed by a sniper.

 

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