LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials reportedly are calling on a civilian oversight committee to assist the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as it investigates how deputies could have accidentally shot hostages during two separate standoffs in the past four months.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports that Inspector General Max Huntsman expects to review the most recent incident, when deputies Friday shot and killed an armed parolee after he held a woman hostage during an eight-hour standoff at a Pico Rivera home.
Authorities said deputies made a tactical entry and mistook 54-year-old Frank Mendoza for 24-year-old Cedric Ramirez as the victim exited his home. Inside, Ramirez was holding Mendoza’s 60-year-old wife hostage. The parolee was later killed by deputies.
“Within minutes, deputies commenced a dangerous recovery of Mr. Mendoza while the armed parolee remained inside the home, with the hostage,” LACSD Chief Detective Bill McSweeney announced Saturday. Those comments have been the only ones made by the Sheriff’s Department about the Pico Rivera shooting.
Huntsman, who was the prosecutor in the Bell corruption scandal, said the man he put in charge of the audits and investigation section was at the scene in Pico Rivera as the investigation unfolded.
“He rolled out on the evening of that morning of that shooting and did the kind of monitoring at the location that the district attorney’s office does, that the office of independent review used to do, and that my office will now do,” Huntsman said.
Friday’s incident comes just a few months after deputies during a standoff in West Hollywood mistakenly opened fire on two hostages, killing 30-year-old production assistant John Winkler.
Huntsman is pushing for the Board of Supervisors and Acting Sheriff John Scott to grant him oversight authority during the investigations, a move Huntsman claims is the only way to ensure fairness and transparency.