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Woman brandishing a knife in Westlake is subdued by police

September 26, 2010 |  1:07 pm

A woman brandishing a knife in a Westlake doughnut shop early Sunday was subdued after being hit with two of non-lethal bean bag rounds, police said.

The incident occurred in the same area where a Guatemalan day laborer wielding a knife was fatally shot by officers, sparking days of community unrest.

Police received a call at about 4:30 a.m. reporting a possible robbery attempt by a woman with a knife at a doughnut shop at Sixth and Coronado streets.

Two officers encountered the woman, who was acting erratically, in a nearby parking lot, where she refused orders to drop the knife. An officer fired a bean-bag round, which had no effect; another round was fired, causing the woman to fall.

“Her agitation had increased and she appeared to be under the influence of something,” said Lt. Wes Buhrmester of the LAPD’s Rampart Station. “It was later found that she had been drinking. The officers feared that she would charge at them. She was hit in the midsection and fell to the ground and taken into custody without incident. A folding knife was recovered.”

The woman, described as a 35-year-old Los Angeles resident, was treated at the scene by paramedics. She was taken to County-USC Medical Center where she was undergoing a mental health evaluation, Buhrmester said. Police did not release her name. They determined that there was no robbery attempt and said she was not likely be charged with any crime.

On Sept. 5, Manuel Jaminez Xum, 37, was fatally shot near Union Avenue and Sixth Street after allegedly threatening two women with a knife and lunging at two police officers who were on bicycles. The shooting sparked several days of protests, including a gathering of more than 300 people at the LAPD’s Rampart Station, where eggs and other objects were hurled at windows and police cars.

In Sunday’s incident, there were fewer bystanders and officers had better control over the situation and environment, including using their patrol car as cover, Buhrmester said. The bicycle officers in the previous incident also did not have the use of the non-lethal bean bags, he said.

“From here on out it may be that some type of device is given to bicycle officers and those on foot similar to the bean-bag round so that they have some other type of non-lethal weapon to use,” Buhrmester said. 

The policemen who encountered the woman were training officers with years of experience, he added.

“Even had the incident on Labor Day not occurred, I’m fully confident this incident would have been handled the same way,” he said.

-- Carla Rivera