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Deputy shooting at West Hollywood liquor store under investigation

Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators are looking into how a West Hollywood liquor store manager who called 911 to report a robbery was mistaken for a suspect and shot at by a deputy.

Authorities were called to the store near Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards early Sunday. Suspect descriptions at the time were limited: a black man with a handgun, and a black woman.

Soon after, two deputies pulled in and parked around the corner from the store and the store’s manager ran around the corner to meet them, said Capt. Mike Parker. At least one of the deputies mistook the manager, who is also black, for the suspect, Parker said.

The manager began pointing his index finger behind the deputies in the direction the suspects fled, but the deputy mistakenly believed the man was pointing a gun at them, Parker said.

When the man ignored the deputy’s commands and continued gesturing, the deputy shot eight rounds in his direction, Parker said.

All of the gunshots missed, and the manager was not injured. No gun was found at the scene, authorities said.

The manager may have been holding keys, said Michael Gennaco, who heads up the Office of Independent Review, a Sheriff's Department watchdog. Gennaco, who arrived at the scene soon after the shooting, said the manager appeared unharmed.

“He’s pointing, saying ‘Hey they’re getting away’ and the deputies are thinking he’s going to shoot,” Gennaco said. “Eight rounds later there are still a lot of questions.”

The deputy who shot at the manager was a trainee and was accompanied by his training officer, Gennaco said. He had responded to the scene of another robbery at the same liquor store just three weeks earlier, Parker said.

Gennaco called the physical description of the male suspect as “not much of a description.”

“It’s a difficult assessment, but the deputies have to make the correct assessment whether someone is aggressing ... or is just trying to point out the departing suspects,” he said.

Gennaco said the deputy’s relatively short experience in the field would be considered. The department has launched multiple investigations into the shooting, including separate inquires by internal affairs and department detectives.

Parker said the investigations would have to be completed before it could be determined if protocol was broken, but he defended the deputy’s actions.

“Here he is rolling into an armed robbery at a place that was robbed three weeks ago. Already tensions are high,” Parker said.

The street was dark, the limited physical description matched and the man was pointing with a gesture similar to children “playing cops and robbers” and miming holding a gun, Parker said.

“We don’t want to be critical of somebody when they’ve gone through this traumatic experience, but it’s really best if and when you call 911 and ... you’re going to come outside that you keep your hands in plain sight,” Parker said. “We don’t know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. That’s what we’re coming to find out."

The confusion was compounded by an apparent language barrier, Parker said. The shop manager is an African immigrant with a thick accent, he said.

Neither of the robbers has been arrested, and both were last seen fleeing south on Havenhurst Drive. Windows at a store across the street from the robbery site were said to be shattered by the gunfire.

Parker said the deputy would likely not be back on patrol immediately, as is customary after shootings.

Employees at the liquor store could not be reached Monday morning. Parker said the manager appeared shaken up after the shooting.

“But I think he was more shaken up by the robbery,” Parker said. “He wished [the shooting] didn’t happen, but I think he understood why it did happen.”

-- Robert Faturechi

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

Wow why am I not surprised LOL

..if that store manager would've gotten hit, u best believe that the ACLU & the NAACP would've been all over this! ..a 'no-donut' demerit goes out to that trainee..

All they saw was "black" and that was enough to shoot 8 times. Typical.

8 missed shots, what exactly did he hit with all those bullets.. He already missed on innocent person,if there were other innocent people in range, why are they not suspending this moron for good. He shouldnt be a police officer at all..

Maybe it was "Buck fever?"

i live right around the corner and what the article doesnt say is that those 8 bullets flew across busy santa monica blvd and shot out the windows of TWO restaurants on the OTHER side of the street.....so not only is the clerk lucky to be alive, but also any pedestrians or cars driving by at that very moment in both directions

San Marcos, and the other who can't read...It was a depuity who fired at the clerk....NOT an LAPD officer..slow down and read the whole story...Police officer and depuity are not the same. It's like the Army and Marines, but you might also mix them up.

Bad shot? Yes. Should he have shot? I wasn't there so I cannot judge. However some of you need to re-read the article

1. The bullets hit the glass/store
2. It was a Sheriff's Deputy, not the LAPD
3. It was dark out, little to no street lights and the
police car headlights were off.

I cannot defend his actions but would love for the know it alls here to read before they post...

"When the man ignored the deputy’s commands and continued gesturing, the deputy shot eight rounds in his direction, Parker said."

So now the cops are saying they gave orders? Sure they did, Parker. How come there isn't any dashcam footage of this incident? Oh, tha's because the cops in California don't like their actions being documented by a videocamera that doesn't lie and would always conflict with the officer's version of what happened.

"“We don’t want to be critical of somebody when they’ve gone through this traumatic experience, but it’s really best if and when you call 911 and ... you’re going to come outside that you keep your hands in plain sight,” Parker said. “We don’t know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. That’s what we’re coming to find out."

The guy's hands were clearly visible and is the reason why he was shot at 8 times by an incompetent cop!!!

So was he shot because he didn't follow the officers commands? Or was he shot because his hands were clearly visible pointing in the direction the suspects ran?

Why not try being critical of a cop for a change?

Stop protecting negligence, Parker.

we need more cops like this deputy-in-training. we would have far fewer tragedies if all the bullets magically missed everyone.

I'm so tired of police shooting first and then making up the facts second. There is supposedly an investigation underway, but I can just about figure how that will turn out. Police are basically armed gunmen walking the streets. I'm afraid to call them if I have a problem, because now, they'll probably shoot me and blame me that I got shot. I'm afraid of the police. I walk on the opposite side of the street when I see them. I used to smile and nod my head at them, but not any more. I feel that they police with their bias/prejudices rather than operating for the good of all the people.

what a moron. call goes out for a black suspect, and he pulls out on the first black man he sees.

8 shots and he missed too? thank God... but are you serious? are our deputies really that incompetent?

I think cops shooting at things and missing them is pretty common with cops. I shoot competitively-IPSC/USPC, (combat shooting). A few cops participate in this and they are, with few exceptions, really bad at it. Probably because the only thing they shoot at is paper targets on a range right in front of them. They don't seem to be able to shoot and move at the same time, which seems pretty basic. Generally, they aren't properly equipped, either. It's scary.

 
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