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LAPD chief identifies officers in deadly Westlake shooting

September 7, 2010 |  7:39 pm

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday identified the three officers involved in the deadly shooting of a day laborer this weekend, an incident that has heightened tensions in the heavily immigrant neighborhood of Westlake.

The officers confronted Manuel Jamines, who was allegedly wielding a knife, and ordered him to drop the weapon, according to the LAPD. Officers fired after they were threatened by the 37-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, who refused to drop the weapon.

The officers involved are Frank Hernandez, a 13-year veteran; Steven Rodriguez, a five-year veteran; and Paris Pineda, who also has been on the force for five years, Beck told reporters at news conference at LAPD headquarters Tuesday evening.

Hernandez fired the shots, Beck said.  The three officers are assigned to the Rampart Division's bicycle unit.

Beck said the entire incident lasted only 40 seconds and did not give officers much time to asses the threat the man posed. "There was very, very little opportunity to do much more than what was done," he said.

Police revealed photographs of the bloodied knife -- a switchblade that is about 6 inches long when opened -- that they say the victim was holding at the time of the shooting. Investigators are testing the blood to see whose it is, the LAPD said.

Beck said the area where the incident occurred "is not an easy place to police," in part because of its large immigrant population and widespread illegal vending.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was at the news conference, urged residents not to resort to violence. "We need to calm the waters," he said.

Protesters staged an angry demonstration Monday during which four people were arrested and three officers were injured.  The marchers gathered at 6th Street and Union Avenue near the sidewalk where the shooting took place.

Relatives of Jamines said he was a hard-working day laborer who struggled with alcohol on the weekends.

“He liked to drink, but was never violent,” said Juan Jamines, a cousin. “I don’t know why police had to kill him.”

-- Kate Linthicum at LAPD headquarters and Robert J. Lopez