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Two officer-involved deaths investigated in Downey

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating two recent deaths in which Downey police officers were involved.

On Saturday, officers from the Downey Police Department shot and killed a man wielding an ax, said L.A. County Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Leyva. The man, believed to be in his 30s, was walking north in the middle of the southbound lanes of Paramount Boulevard, near Imperial Highway, about 6:30 p.m. Officers ordered him several times to stop and drop the weapon, Levya said, but he refused and advanced toward them with the ax raised over his head.

"Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their weapons at the suspect and struck him," he said.

The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He has not been identified, pending notification of next of kin. The hatchet was recovered.

The incident occurred one day after 31-year-old Albert Valencia died after Downey police used a Taser to subdue him after a foot chase.

Officers were called to an LA Fitness health club at Firestone Boulevard and Ryerson Avenue about 9 a.m. Friday after patrons reported that a man was acting strangely and threatening people inside the gym, according to a statement from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Upon arrival, officers attempted to stop Valencia, who was driving his car out of the parking lot. The officers reported that they saw Valencia brandish a knife as they approached him, the statement said.

Valencia stopped his vehicle at Almira and Blumont roads in South Gate and fled into a yard, where officers became involved in a "physical altercation" with him and used a Taser, according to the statement.

Shortly afterward, Valencia became unresponsive, and officers performed CPR until the fire department arrived. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

-- Corina Knoll


Learn about more than 100 fatal officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County since January 2007 on the Times' interactive Homicide Report.

Comments () | Archives (14)

too bad this didn't happen in San Marino...they could have retrenched and used harsh language and wazoo toys to apprehend him...

When police TELL you to put down your weapons, I think you should follow orders because if not this is the out come.

But what gets me are the families that say "oh he was a good man and should not have been shot or killed.

Well if HE would have dropped HIS AX maybe he woud still be alive.

I feel for the family but people like have NO ONE to blame but themselves.....

who is watching police abuse of power. Some public agency should start counting all killings by ploice. If regular people sleep no one knows who will be next to shot dead by police as legal system is favorable to police

This shoot to kill policy needs to change. In the first incident mentioned in this article they could have kept good distance between themselves and the axe holder and shot him in the legs or tased him.

As a veteran, I am familiar with the triangle of deadly force but I was also trained in the to "de-escalate the situation". Seems to me these modern day police officers love to escalate the situation.

Sounds like the Officers did there job and were justified in their actions.

Nobody ever gets shot by the police for listening to their orders. Put down the ax and incident is over. Don't brandish a knife then run, requiring the police to chase you and taze you. At face value, it appears these officers were justified.

Our tax dollars HARD at work I see. A man approaching you swinging an ax while you're pointing your pistol at him... what do you do? Being an ordinary citizen, you may in fact shoot to kill. But if you're a trained and re-trained police officer with, of course, a couple of guns, a taser, and a baton to protect yourself and others. Do you still shoot to kill, or shoot to stop. Who knows? This guy could have been mentally unstable, like the guy that ran and was "tazed". Or he could have very well been a psycopath. Personally, I believe that a bit more self control could have or should have been used, I don't think this guy should have died. But then again, who am I to judge.

If a man walks at you with an axe raised over his head, and you tell him to put it down, are you going to try and keep negotiating with him? Or are you going to defend yourself?
"Please sir, please put down the axe? Pretty please?"
No? Ok then, just ignore him and let him whack someone with that axe.
Then you know what would happen?? "Oh! The POLICE didn't do ANYthing and now my poor [insert family member] is dead!"

Do you know what kind of accuracy and time it takes to shoot someone "in the legs"?
Do you know how close you have to be to be able to deploy a Taser??
Do you know what what kind of reaction people who are under the influence of drugs have when they are tased??
Do you know how long it takes for someone to fling an axe in your direction..??

WHO is watching over these people (God rest their souls..), that have mental disorders, are mentally challenged, are off their meds, have drug problems... and may have had multiple contacts with the police...??!!

I like how these people come out of the wood work and say the police should have shot this guy in the leg. This is not a Hollywood movie. A person with a knife or in this case an ax can close the distance of 20 feet in one second. More than likely after this guy is shot in the leg, he still is going to fight and swing at the officer and possibly killing him. Officers are trained to shoot to stop the threat. By stopping the threat, they shoot people in the vital areas. Taser's do not always work on people. Tasers can be easily defeated if you know how. Most criminals know how to defeat them. Please refrain from the ignorant comments. More than likely, the officer had a split second to decide to use deadly force. On the other hand, the bad guy with the ax probably had his entire life time to think if I threaten a police officer with an ax, I'm probably going to get shot..

i agree with a concerned american. the officers did their job the right way. On to the next one....

Sounds like what should happen when an armed and dangerous man is approaching officers and refuses to listen to orders of "put your weapon down!"

Police are only trying to do their job, but these bleeding-heart liberals are always looking to blame the police and not look at the incidents from all angles.

I was less than 30 feet away when it all happen. I seen the guy walk in the middle part of the road and the police gave him orders and seconds later shot him. I was close enough to almost be in the middle of it. I was scared I was in the line of fire.

I salute to these officers!
Next time i see u in 7_Eleven coffee is on me!

another killing by sgpd officers. to people who may not know this is the sgpd departments 3rd officer involved killing this year. Also i would like to add i am only 20. I went to school with most of these officers and know that pretty much they are trigger happy idiots. next month another killing watch.


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