Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Monday released reviews of nine officer-involved shootings, four of which were fatal and all of which were found to be either accidental or a lawful use of force in self-defense, the defense of others or to prevent a crime.
The four men killed were Ryan Joseph, Vincent Hernandez Jr., Eric Bogart and 17-year-old Armando Garcia-Muro, who was accidentally shot by a ricocheting bullet when deputies fired on a charging pit bull that had bitten one deputy.
The deputies who shot Armando were called out on June 22, 2017, to an apartment in Palmdale by someone complaining of loud music. As they approached a carport area where Armando and others were sitting, the 73-pound pit bull bit a deputy as he reached down to pet the dog, according to their statements.
A resident sitting outside chained the dog up, but while deputies called for a supervisor and were walking back to take photos of the dog, the animal broke loose and charged at a deputy. Two deputies fired on the dog.
Deputy Medical Examiner Lawrence Nguyen concluded that one of the bullets bounced off a hard surface and hit Armando, who was behind the pit bull.
Ballistics analysis found that five of the six shots fired were at the ground and the sixth was in an area away from where Armando was struck.
“The multitude of bullet fragments and the shrapnel wounds to (other deputies) are also consistent with rounds striking something hard in the vicinity of the dog attack,” the report concluded.
Armando’s aunt told CBS Los Angeles shortly after the shooting that her nephew was trying to save the dog.
“Put his life on the line for an animal that wasn’t even his,” the aunt said.
The teen’s mother, Roberta Alcantar, has filed a wrongful death suit, in part alleging that deputies delayed medical aid for her son while discussing how to explain the shooting.
Deputies told investigators they rendered first aid and called for paramedics.
In the Dec. 18, 2016, fatal shooting of 20-year-old Ryan Joseph some facts are redacted.
An LAPD officer was on patrol with his partner in South Los Angeles when he saw Joseph walking in the area and ordered him to stop. The reason for stopping him isn’t clear from the redacted report, but investigators said Joseph ignored the command.
Officers say Joseph was armed with a 9mm Ruger pistol loaded with a large capacity magazine. He was running away from officers with the gun in his hand and an off-duty officer in the area told investigators that he saw Joseph turn toward the patrolman while running as if he might shoot him.
The officer fired at Joseph.
“Joseph did not fall from the first shot, and since the threat had not been eliminated, (the officer) fired two additional rounds,” according to the report.
Joseph was struck twice in the back.
In the case of Vincent Hernandez Jr., it was his family who called deputies because Hernandez Jr. was causing a disturbance at their West Valinda home on Sept. 11, 2017. He was living with them but they wanted to evict him because they found he was using methamphetamine, according to the report.
His father told deputies that his 39-year-old son had been seen with a BB gun the day before, which he described as a “air rifle or possibly a shotgun.”
Deputies attempted to talk to Hernandez, who locked himself in a bedroom and refused to come out, instead exiting through a rear window that led into the backyard.
Hernandez was carrying what appeared to deputies to be a handgun in one hand and a rifle in the other. Deputies ordered him to drop the weapons but he fired two rounds at officers, striking one in the face and prompting them to return fire.
Hernandez was killed by a single bullet to the chest and died at the scene, according to the autopsy report. After further investigation, it was determined that the weapons were air guns that fired .177 caliber steel pellets.
The fourth fatal shooting was that of 49-year-old Eric Bogart of West Hollywood, who died in an hours-long, overnight standoff with police while barricaded inside a sprawling estate in Pacific Palisades on Aug. 10, 2017.
Los Angeles police officers went to the 1600 block of Alta Mura Road late in the evening of Aug. 9, 2017, in response to a report of a domestic dispute. Bogart’s girlfriend told them Bogart had tried to kill her and wanted to commit “suicide by cop,” according to the report.
She had tried to protect herself by arming herself with a Glock pistol from a safe room in the house on Alta Mura Road but was overpowered by Bogart, who took the gun and fired shots around the room while she sat helpless. Another Glock pistol and a shotgun were also in the safe room.
The woman ultimately ran to a neighbor’s home and called a private security company that called 911.
Crisis negotiators called Bogart and a SWAT officer used a bullhorn to communicate and Bogart ultimately answered the phone and said, “You’re going to have to come get me,” using an expletive to describe officers.
Less than 10 minutes later, Bogart fired on officers out a window and they returned fire.
A bomb disposal robot sent into the home found Bogart dead, next to the windows where he collapsed after opening fire, according to the report.
Bogart was struck by two bullets that entered his left shoulder and exited through his chest.
The autopsy found morphine and antidepressants in his blood.
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