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11 officers fired guns in Koreatown shooting death, sources say

Eleven Los Angeles police officers fired more than 60 shots, fatally wounding an armed carjacking suspect in Koreatown at the end of a televised slow-speed pursuit on Thursday, police sources said.

Authorities said police fired because the suspect pointed his handgun at customers at a gas station, endangering public safety.

"When he pulled out his revolver and pointed it at people inside the store, the officers took action, fired their rounds and the suspect expired at the scene," Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Friday.

But sources said the number of officers firing weapons is likely to be a focus of the Los Angeles Police Department investigation into the use of force, which is routine after every officer-involved shooting. In addition to the department's force investigation division, the district attorney's officer shooting team and the Police Commission's inspector general are investigating the shooting, as is standard practice.

Sources said that the incident unfolded very quickly, within moments of the suspect's pulling into the gas station parking lot. He was clearly armed and officers knew he had committed two violent carjackings, police said, making the situation particularly volatile. Video footage of the shooting shows officers opening fire and delivering multiple rounds as a bystander ducked for cover.

A variety of factors will be examined, including whether bystanders or officers were potentially in danger because so many officers were firing weapons, the sources said. The investigation will also evaluate the chase and the large number of patrol cars involved.

No breakdowns were available about how many shots each officer fired. The sources declined to be identified because the investigation was still unfolding.

A revolver was found inside the older-model Saturn, said LAPD sources familiar with the incident.

The man allegedly stole a car from a woman in San Bernardino shortly before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the sources said.

The man drove to Valley Boulevard and Eastern Avenue in El Sereno, where he dumped the car he was driving and stole the Saturn from a 65-year-old man, according to the sources.

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-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

 
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