Midday shooting follows use of non-lethal "bean bag" rounds and commands to drop knife, police say
(January 19, 2002) -- LBPD officers shot and killed a knife wielding woman at midday today on Pine Ave. Near 4th St. after police say the woman refused commands to drop the knife and officers first used non-lethal "bean bag" projectiles without success.
Police said the armed woman was walking toward the heavily populated downtown business district and refused officers' pleas to drop the knife. Police said the woman, estimated to weigh roughly 300 pounds, was also unphased by the non-lethal rounds. Police say she raised the knife to a throwing position toward the officers, forcing them to shoot her in fear for their safety.
In a written release, LBPD says it received a call at 11:01 a.m. from a grocery store in the area of 5th and Pacific indicating a robbery had just taken place. Police say a woman had allegedly left the store with a shopping cart full of items without paying for them and when she was approached by a store supervisor a struggle ensued. When the store supervisor realized the woman was armed with a knife, he backed away, letting the woman leave.
Police say that a few moments later, they located the woman at 5th and Pacific and she "began walking southbound on Pine Ave. with a knife in her hand." LBPD says she "ignored numerous commands given to her by officers to drop the knife. The woman traveled a full city block while officers repeatedly pleaded with her to comply with their commands."
Police said "officers were concerned that the armed woman, who was heading towards a highly populated business district full of numerous shops and restaurants, would pose a serious threat to citizens."
Officers then tried using less than lethal "bean bag" projectiles. Police say that while giving the woman verbal commands to drop the knife, they tried using less than lethal "bean bag" projectiles, striking the woman (estimated to weigh roughly 300 pounds) twice without phasing her.
LBPD says the woman then raised the knife "to a throwing position toward the officers. Officers, fearing for their safety, were forced to shoot the woman with their duty weapons" and she was hit several times in the torso.
LBPD says it rendered aid to the suspect and LBFD transported her to a local hospital where she died after undergoing surgery. Police said positive ID of the suspect would come from the LA County Coroner's office.
Several LA television stations ran the story prominently in their late evening newscasts. KTTV (Fox 11) and KTLA (channel 5) aired the story in their 10:00 p.m. newscasts (KTTV led with it). KNBC (channel 4), KCBS-TV (channel 2) and KABC-TV (channel 7) ran the story at or near the top of their 11:00 p.m. newscasts.
KCBS-TV and KNBC included an on-street taped interview with a male witness (whom they did not identify, face concealed) critical of the police shooting who estimated the woman was about 20 feet from the officers. KTTV and KABC-TV included comments from another man angered by the police shooting. KCBS-TV found comments pro and con, and compared the events to a controversial shooting of an LA homeless woman (on La Brea near 3d St.).