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Police fatally shoot man in Westlake

L.A. police shot and killed a man who was allegedly armed with a knife and threatening people in the middle of a crowded shopping district near downtown, authorities said.

Three officers with the bicycle unit of LAPD's Rampart division were patrolling the area near 6th and Union streets in the Westlake District when a pedestrian flagged them down and told them a man with a knife was threatening people, Cmdr. Blake Chou said. Officers ordered him to drop the knife and fired the fatal shots when he didn't comply, he said. Chou said the man, whose identity was not released, may have lunged at the officers.

The officers involved were taken to the station where they were being interviewed, and LAPD's force investigation division was on scene, Chou said.

At the scene, crowds of weekend shoppers, many with young children, swarmed around the police tape cordoning off two blocks lined with dollar stores, liquor shops, and a Food 4 Less. The sheet-covered body, with blood running down the sidewalk, was in plain sight on the street corner. Three bicycles were near the body, two on their side and one standing.

Residents angrily yelled at police, cursing at them and calling them killers. Some said the man was a vagrant who was well known in the neighborhood, but was not dangerous. They said they heard three gunshots, but police could not immediately say how many shots were fired.

--Victoria Kim

Comments () | Archives (25)

Gee, I'm one of three cops and I am suddenly feeling threatened by a homeless guy with a knife. Gee, guess I'd better fill him full of lead before he comes at me. Whew, glad that's over. Scary!

There is so much wrong with this. First people call police to deal with a man armed with a knife threatening them, then when police responds and deals with the threat, people complain that police did as asked of them. Crackers. Or it's the professional indignant brigade at work - calling the LA Times right after the incident, hogging the media spotlight. Jesse Jackson can't be far behind... Let's hope the man shot wasn't black, or we taxpayers will pay hundreds of thousands because police did what they were called out to do. You can't do right by people. Just stop patrolling those areas and allow those folks to knife and shoot each other at will. Problem solved - eventually.

The police shoot to kill! They shot a poor old vagrant who lost it, probably from the stress of being a poor old vagrant. Why didn't they shoot his legs or feet? What happened to the tasers and the pepper spray? How many people has law enforcement in Los Angeles County needlessly killed in the past? That police "put their lives on the line" to protect us is a lie. Police are trained to shoot to kill, no matter how tiny the threat.

This just shows what kind of people the police have to deal with on a daily basis- always ready to scream and fight the police. Since they are so unhappy they should return to whatever hell-hole they came from and take their knife, gun, and machete bearing lunatics with them.


Would the crowds have been yelling at the police if they had done nothing and let this man slash a few of them? People are the crazys't cats!

This would be a good incident for their to be videotape, either from a passerby or a neighboring store camera. Gun v. knife sounds fairly lopsided.

*there*. Oops.

The "residents" in that neighborhood sound like idiots to me. What if the officers had not acted quickly enough and this mad man was able to stab the many shoppers and children present. Better that the man with the knife is dead than the bystanders or the cops. Don't see a problem with this scenario at all. Good job officers.

Typical reaction from a poor illegal immigrant community. I know his area well, but I guess people don't react this passionately when gangs are extorting or killing people in this barrio. Go figure

damn it. my car is cordoned off with police tape 'cause of this . . .

Couldn't this man have been stopped or disabled without being killed? It seems to me that on more than one occasion, the LA police are too quick to pull the trigger. This is the second case I've read about in which police shooting a person in an attempt to control his/her behavior, and the other case was a woman who was said to be mentally unstable, or at least that was rumored or told for truth. And, this man was described as a vagrant that was known by the people in the neighborhood. It just seems to me that measures could have been taken to control him without having to kill him. What a shame!

If you play you pay. I know Police brutality but wait a minute, a knife wielding man? The sad fact is life has gotten complicated and the most basic rules now apply. Don't threaten people with a knife... period.

Tragic! I'm sure there will be plenty of witnesses to tell investigators thier version of events. That being said, we expect police to protect us from threats they deem life threatening. I don't know about you, but if I had a gun and saw a guy with a knife and felt in danger for myself or you I would shoot him. You could then call me a killer, since thats what I would have done (if my shots found the mark). I would just hope you would understand my reasoning. Nevertheless, this is tragic that a person was killed.

Frederick Douglass said that "No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck." Right now, persons of color and of low economic status who express their many frustrations are chained by prisons and by disproportionate police violence. Who can doubt that as this economic crisis unfolds, those same social "remedies" will be directed against a larger group of people who at the moment may feel more protected than threatened by them? If we are not moved by compassion to seek better approaches, then at least we should be concerned enough to look out for ourselves.

LAPD are not here to protect and to serve. they are killers.the only diffrence between them and gangbangers is that the mayor and the cuty allow them to do it legally

It is unfortunate that the LAPD officers had to use lethal force but the bottom line is, don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

Then go back to Mexico cause it is soooooooooooo much better over there.

That area is anti police anyway so I'm not surprised they yelled insults at them. If this guy described as a transient/homeless person had of stabbed a few people with the knife, they would be complaining there is never any police around. Sounds like a suicide by cop type thing to me. Some comments ask why didn't they use a taser or pepper spray, those things don't always work. This "poor old vagrant" could have been ex military or a fugitive from another state or country.

mexicans come to this country illegally and ghetto down the state....then when police respond to an apparently crazy person waving a knife they put down the police for trying to make the streets safer....go back to mexico....we don't want you here....a day without a mexican .....would be a day to celebrate...!!!!!!

miss nicole warner were does it say this man was mexican. i think i might need to get my eyes check because it doesn't mention the man's race. he could have been caucasion ,black or even asian. i guess we know who is a racist here. the police should have handled this different, thats why they carry alternative weapons (pepper spray, bean bag and tasers) to handle these types of incidents. just like the incident with the homeless black lady, it should have been handled differently. the women should have not been killed.

Right on Danny, Georgia and James Jackson !! Well said !!

A 20 year volunteer police officer, my father believed in "shoot to stop . . NOT shoot to kill." !! He always maintained that a violator could be stopped without killing him !! These officers are trained marksmen . . . the could hit a person in the arm, hand, leg or foot . . . . . no wonder people get frustrted with the policemen. Yes they are called on to investigate a situation . . . and protest the public . . but many of these officers get a "KILL the perpetrator" attitude.

In those TWENTY YEARS of volunteer service to the public, as an officer, my father had many opportunities to use his weapon, and he did , but in all those years he NEVER KILLED anyone ! God rest his soul !

Just one person's opinion . . . but I believe it and I am grateful for his beliefs. He believed it and he lived it . . . everyday of his life !!

The police carry less than lethal tools (pepper spray, baton, taser, bean bag shotgun) to deal with people who are uncooperative, but don't have a lethal weapon on them. The last time I checked a knife is a lethal weapon. A man with a knife in a crowd can be just as dangerous as a man with a gun. A knife can kill you!!! The police will not use their other tools when dealing with a person with a lethal weapon.
By the way, the police do not shoot to kill, they shoot to stop the threat. In this case the threat was stopped and the knife wielding moron succumbed to his wounds. Maybe the next drunk vagrant will drop the knife when told to do so.

Evidently Miss Kim doesn't like posting the defenders of the lawful action of the police. Instead she likes to post only the uneducated comments of the naysayers. Very telling of Miss Kims agenda. Clearly she is not an unbiased "journalist". Very telling!

The police shoot to stop, not to kill. It was unfortunate that the vagrant died, but he was the wrong one. If you believe the police use excessive force, well that guy could just have dropped the weapon. If he was intoxicated, he was dangerous and had to be stopped by any means.

If the police overkilled the situation, the angry mob is overreacting way more than the police. If they want to protest, do it without cursing and violence. They are just doing it out of frustration and some youngsters for the lolz.

The vagrant seems to be from Guatemala judging from the flag posted there where he died. Wherever he came from, the angry crowd should not act like a retarded mob following their own emotions.


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