WESTLAKE DISTRICT (CBS) — A Los Angeles police officer Sunday fired two nonlethal bean bag rounds at a knife-wielding woman in the same Westlake district where a Guatemalan day laborer with a knife was fatally shot Sept. 5.
An officer ordered the woman, who was stopped near Sixth and Coronado streets about 4:40 a.m., to “put the knife down” and when she refused, an officer fired two bean bag rounds at her, Sgt. Melvin Gamble of the Rampart Station said.
Paramedics were summoned to check out the woman, who refused treatment and was expected to be taken into custody. Her name was unavailable pending booking.
The woman, dressed in black, was screaming and waving the knife when officers spotted her, Gamble said.
She was apparently upset about a child of hers who was molested some years ago, Gamble said, adding that she apparently felt that justice system wasn’t working fast enough.
Gamble said the woman did not drop the knife after the first bean bag hit her. Officers moved in after the second round struck her and she dropped the knife.
Gamble said officers were able to grab the woman’s arms and handcuff her without putting her on the ground.
Though the woman refused medical treatment, paramedics took her to County-USC Medical Center, where she was undergoing a mental health evaluation.
The use of nonlethal force to subdue the woman comes three weeks and several blocks from where a bicycle officer fatally shot a Guatemalan day laborer, Manuel Jaminez Xum, who was allegedly drunk, brandishing a knife and threatening passersby, including a pregnant woman and 4-year-old boy. Xum was shot in the head near Sixth Street and Union Avenue.
After refusing orders in English and Spanish to drop the knife, Xum allegedly lunged at an officer, prompting bicycle officer Officer Frank Hernandez to shoot him. The killing set off several days of unrest in the immigrant-dense neighborhood.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Chief Charlie Beck drew criticism for defending the officer in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, saying the facts would show the officer was justified in shooting Xum. But others in the neighborhood found it hard to understand why police did not use less-than-lethal means to subdue Xum, who associates and relatives described as drunk and disorderly, but not a threat.
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