Echo Park gunman fatally shot by LAPD had history of weapons convictions
A heavily armed man who was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers after a confrontation during a traffic stop in Echo Park was identified Wednesday as Jack Schlesinger, whom authorities described as a parolee with multiple weapons convictions.
Schlesinger had convictions dating back to at least 2002, when he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in state prison for shooting into an inhabited dwelling, authorities said. He was convicted several additional times between 2004 and 2008 for possessing a weapon in state prison.
After his release from prison April 22, 2010, Schlesinger failed to report to his parole officer and within a week was classified as a parolee at large.
Schlesinger's death comes two weeks after authorities identified parolee-at-large Omar Loera, who was released early from state prison after serving 23 months of his 32-month sentence, as the suspect in the July slaying of Valley Village resident Chere Osmanhodzic.
Paul M. Weber, president of the union representing LAPD officers, said the incident shows ongoing problems with the parole system.
"For two years, the [union] has been warning state leaders and residents that the [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's] various failures, from early release to failing to supervise parolees, represent a significant threat to the public," Weber said. "Schlesinger was only one of 13,000 dangerous felons that the CDCR was supposed be supervising but who had not reported to his parole officer and therefore was classified as 'at large,' free to roam our streets."
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck also has questioned the parole system. In July, he asked the state corrections department to investigate how a parolee who fired nearly a dozen gunshots at two LAPD officers in the San Fernando Valley was able to gain early release and why he was classified as a low-level offender.
In his letter to the corrections secretary, Beck expressed concern that the suspect in that case, Javier Joseph Rueda, 28, of Panorama City, had been placed on "non-revocable parole" in May after serving just two years of a 10-year prison sentence.
LAPD detectives said that Schlesinger was suspected in a series of armed robberies in the Valley and that the car he was riding in Tuesday when he was stopped by police was reported stolen in a carjacking.
Officers stopped the car in the 1600 block of Temple Street. Schlesinger got out of the vehicle armed with an SKS assault rifle and turned toward the officers, police said. Two officers opened fire, killing him. Police recovered a handgun in the man’s back pocket.
-- Andrew Blankstein