Two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday in connection with the fatal shooting of an armed robbery suspect at the end of a chase in North Hollywood nearly a year ago.
According to a report prepared by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, detectives identified Juan Andres Barillas as a suspect in the series of armed robberies that had occurred in the San Fernando Valley and tracked the 37-year-old North Hollywood resident to the Studio Lodge Hotel on 11254 Vanowen St.
Detectives investigating the heists had nicknamed the suspect the Penny-Pincher Bandit because he reached into the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny tray during one of the robberies.
Officers attempted to stop Barillas in his car late in the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2017, after he left the hotel, triggering a short chase in the 12000 block of Vose Street, near Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
According to Moore’s report, after Barillas’ car came to a stop, multiple officers surrounded the vehicle with their guns drawn. The officers reported that the suspect reached into his waistband as if he was about to draw a weapon, and two officers opened fire on him multiple times.
Barillas was not actually armed, and a cell phone was found near his body, according to Moore’s report, but the chief determined that the shooting was within the department’s policy as the officers said they feared for their lives.
According to the report, Barillas withdrew a handgun from his waistband during a robbery caught on tape, and officers said he appeared to be reaching for a weapon from the same part of his waistband before they shot him.
Barillas’ family filed a wrongful death claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against the city in September.