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LAPD discusses some details of fatal Watts shooting

In an attempt to quell simmering anger and dispel persistent "misinformation" in a Watts housing project, Los Angeles Police Department officials Friday took the unusual step of publicly discussing  some details about the fatal shooting of an armed man last week by an LAPD officer and acknowledged that witness accounts contradict the one provided by officers.

After the Oct. 7 incident, LAPD officials released a basic account of how the shooting occurred based on interviews conducted with the involved officers:

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Officer Manuel Castaneda and his partner were patrolling the Imperial Courts housing development as part of a gang enforcement detail and came upon 18-year-old James Davis. The officers said they recognized Davis as a known gang member and, suspicious of his behavior, approached him. Davis reportedly shoved a woman toward the officers to distract them and bolted.

Castaneda shot Davis in the back after he pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it back in the direction of the officers, according to the officers’ account. They declined to explain how Davis had been shot in back if he was running.

At a news conference Friday, LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon sought to answer that question. He said Castaneda and his partner, who police did not identify, were several yards apart as they chased Davis. When Davis turned to the right to point his gun at the other officer, he exposed his back to Castaneda, Gannon said.

Gannon, who was joined by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the area, showed a photograph of the 9-millimeter handgun he said police found on the ground a few feet from Davis’ body.

He added that this was Castaneda’s second shooting. In a similar incident in 2009, Castaneda shot and wounded a suspect in the leg when the man pointed a gun at him.

Tensions flared after the Oct. 7 shooting as a large, angry crowd gathered. Police dispersed the crowd peacefully that night, but in the days since, heated talk of the shooting has persisted throughout the sprawling housing complex.

In one frequently repeated version of the incident, Davis was handcuffed and then shot. Others believe Davis threw down his gun and put his hands up to surrender, Gannon said.

Although much of the talk is rumor, Gannon said investigators have interviewed witnesses who contradict the officers’ account. He urged people who saw the shooting to contact police, saying such eyewitness accounts are crucial to determining what happened.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call the LAPD's Force Investigation Division at (213) 486-5230 or (800) 222-8477.

-- Joel Rubin at the LAPD’s Southeast Area Police Station

Follow Joel Rubin’s reporting on the LAPD on Twitter at twitter.com/joelrubin

Comments () | Archives (15)

SHot in the back huh, Why did they not mention why they refuse to allow medical treatment of the alledged suspect..

How interesting that this Officer has been involved in two officer involved shootings.I know several veteran and some retired officers that have never even fired their weapons other than at the firing range. LAPD really needs to look deeply into this incident.

lapd scramble like randall.

I totally believe the officer is wrong, Trigger happy . Fire his a--.

Davis was not shot in the back - he was actually wearing his shirt backwards and running towards the officer.

This offensive method of confusing the enemy prior to attacking shows that Davis was most familiar with the teachings of the Ninja.

He was a most challenging adversary.

This city and its citizens are ridiculous, we should just let these gangsters take over this city. Then see who starts crying for the police. Gang member pointing guns at cops. Just cause it happened in the projects where everyone hates the police and start making up stories.

I love all the monday morning quarterbacks on here. Most, if not all, would never even think of setting foot in Impreial Courts. Why? Because it's overrun with gangmembers and too violent!

Let's see, known gang member in possession of a firearm running from police. Sounds like a formula for getting shot and everyone wonders why he got shot. Everyone is quick to assume police at fault, wonder why some areas go unprotected and turn into the cesspool the Imperial Gardens is. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Shot in the back means only one thing, esp with an officer who is historically trigger-happy. And then they refused medical treatment? What for? To ensure that he wouldn't tell the EMT's what happened?

just means one less gangmember on the streets. get rid of all gangmembers.

Why couldn't they throw a net on him or trip him up with their baton or just shoot the gun out of his hand or something else less violent...Why do they continue to shoot these students...Our children...Why...Why...
just kidding...

Let's see, an adult criminal gang follower pointing a gun at the police...I glad the cops are alright...

As a legitimate taxpaying citizen, I can't even fathom gathering and showing my support for the likes of this character under those conditions, no matter how well I knew him (except if he was my kid). It sounds like just a bunch of unemployed criminals or criminal sympathizers...

What will be, will be...whatever that means...

They only shot him because he's black. If he was white they would not have done anything, they would have let him runaway and even point the gun at them without doing anything. Thats what they teach the officers at the police academy.

LOL, that's what the average less than intelligent citizen thinks!

Harsh---this lil fool is dumb. He had a gun..he did pull it out on officers---do not touch a gun in front of cops---or youll be dead. Plain and simple...they are glad that they are going home alive...and not to the county in a body bag like this lil 18 old fool did. This lil child was runnin the streets...these are the lil fools that be killin all the people you see on the HR---these are the shooters...and it was time for him to be shot. TOO BAD SO SAD>>>>> Im a male, black, 28 years old...from the Poly High School Area of LONG BEACH_____

Did anyone notice the characters interviewed on the news? COMEDY! Yeah, they're a reliable source! How many more profound minds will come out with "their version" of the truth?

We are lucky to have cops brave enough to work in this primitive, barbaric 'hood', most people have no idea. Young gangmembers up to 40 (oxymoron) wander around aimlessly, high looking for trouble... with pistols. Its amazing more thugs dont get shot. They need to bulldoze the whole backwards cesspool and disperse these people. Maybe if they were not so concentrated together they could assimilate into normal society. This place is so isolated from normal society, that the people have evolved, morphed into something else, kind of like the Galapagos islands.


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