|(February 13, 2003) -- LBPD says two veteran officers responding to a NLB domestic violence call were confronted by a convicted felon with a warrant for spousal abuse and resisting arrest -- carrying a hatchet (right) -- who refused to drop the hatchet and continued approaching saying words to the effect you're going to have shoot me before being shot and fatally wounded by the officers.|
LBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Paul LeBaron told LBReport.com the circumstances unfolded shortly after 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 11 at a residence in the 1400 block of E. 68th St. occupied by Rodney David Tolbert, 35, his wife and three children. Sgt. LeBarson said police had been called to the location on roughly 25 prior occasions, most recently earlier that morning, and Mr. Tolbert was on felony probation for robbery and had a $25,000 warrant for spousal abuse and resisting arrest.
At about 7:30 a.m., officers responded to a vandalism call at the location concerning a window broken in a van in the driveway. They tried to locate Mr. Tolbert but were unsuccessful. Sgt. LeBaron said one officer was so concerned about Mrs. Tolbert's well-being that he gave her his personal cell phone number to ensure a prompt response if Mr. Tolbert returned.
At roughly 10:05 a.m., 911 receieved another call from the same location...this time with an open line and the sounds of arguing in the background, children crying...and a man yelling words to the effect I'm going to kill you.
Two veteran LBPD officers, Officer Asif Khan (10 yrs on the force) and Officer Antonio Haro (12 yrs.) responded. Aware of Mr. Tolbert's history and the most recent threat heard on the 911 open line, the officers approached the residence, announced themselves as police officers and entered trying to find Mr. Tolbert, Sgt. LeBaron said.
A hallway led from the front door into the house...and the officers were near the front door when Mr. Tolbert appeared in the hallway roughly 26 feet away. Sgt. LeBaron said Mr. Tolbert had the hatchet in hand, was confrontational and argumentative and walked toward the officers saying words to the effect that they would have to shoot him.
LBPD says the officers directed Mr. Tolbert to put the hatchet down but he refused. When he reached a point roughly 12 feet from the officers, they fired in fear for their safety, striking Mr. Tolbert with six rounds in the torso and stomach. Sgt. LeBaron said the officers then performed CPR on Mr. Tolbert until LBFD arrived and transported him to a local hospital where he expired.
In the wake of the events, some of Mr. Tolbert's relatives have disputed LBPD's account and the use of force.
As is standard procedure under such circumstances, the case is being investigated by LBPD, the L.A. County Coroner's Office and the L.A. County District Attorney's office.