Prosecutors determined that Los Angeles police and sheriff’s deputies acted lawfully in four shootings in which suspects were killed, including one involving a man wanted for allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend and trying to kidnap her, documents released Wednesday show.
The District Attorney’s Office found that LAPD Officer Richard Alba “used reasonable force in self-defense, defense of others, and to apprehend a dangerous fleeing felon” when he fatally shot Tien Hua in Rosemead on Dec. 29, 2015.
Hua — who was wanted for the shooting death two days earlier of Henry Estrada in Hollywood — was shot after fleeing to his backyard and jumping on top of a shed while holding what appeared to be a handgun during a standoff with SWAT officers. Authorities later determined that the item was a black butane lighter that was easily mistaken for a handgun.
“Alba reasonably believed that Hua was armed with a gun and was justified in using deadly force to stop the apparent threat in self-defense,” the District Attorney’s Office noted in a memorandum to LAPD Cmdr. Robert A. Lopez.
Hua was found to have high levels of methamphetamine in his system when he was killed, according to prosecutors.
The other officer-involved shootings involved:
— the July 16, 2013, killing of Juan Chavez, a documented gang member who was fatally shot by LAPD Officers Fernando Flores and Alfredo Aguayo in the Pico-Union district after pulling a revolver from his waistband, pointing it in the direction of two plainclothes officers monitoring a vigil for a deceased gang member and firing his weapon at some point. The .357 revolver was found in the gutter, and authorities determined that a bullet fragment found on the sidewalk had been fired from that weapon, according to prosecutors.
— the Sept. 27, 2015, shooting of Norma Guzman by Los Angeles police Officers Samuel Briggs and Antonio McNeely in the Central City area. The 37- year-old woman — who had seven prior contacts with the LAPD’s mental health unit and was determined to have methamphetamines and THC in her bloodstream at the time of her death — was armed with an knife as she approached the officers, according to prosecutors.
— the Dec. 12, 2015, shooting death of Nicholas Robertson by sheriff’s Deputies Richard Ochoa-Garcia and Jasen Tapia in Lynwood. The two fired at Robertson — who had marijuana and phencyclidine or “angel dust” in his system — after he failed to comply with their commands to drop his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and pointed it at them instead, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors also determined that an off-duty Los Angeles police officer and a Pomona police officer acted in self-defense in two non-fatal shootings in 2015, including one in which the LAPD officer was the victim of an attempted carjacking.
–City News Service
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