LOS FELIZ (CBSLA.com) — Two unlit candles and flowers mark the spot where Walter William DeLeon, 48, was shot in the head by Los Angeles police in Los Feliz last Friday.
“No, we don’t know anything. We’re sorry,” said the DeLeon family Tuesday in front of their East Los Angeles home, indicating they had nothing else to say.
The shooting unfolded about 6:30 p.m. June 19 near the Griffith Park entrance off Los Feliz Boulevard and Tica Drive.
Police said officers in a marked patrol car were approached by DeLeon, who was on the sidewalk.
According to police, DeLeon approached the officers aggressively with his arms extended and hands clasped together.
Authorities said there was a white object over one of his arms. That object was later determined to be a towel.
Believing he was armed, police said officers ordered DeLeon twice to drop the weapon. They said that when he wouldn’t lower his arms, they shot him.
“They described him with his hands together pointing towards our officers, and they believed he was armed,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. “Multiple witnesses have told that to our detectives.”
Smith wouldn’t disclose an exact number as to how many witnesses have come forward. He did say most were sitting in traffic and described the same accounts as that of officers.
“The witnesses that came forward and talked to us, they said that they believed this man had a gun,” Smith said.
He remains in critical condition.
It remains unknown what he was doing in the area.
DeLeon, according to CBS2’s Dave Lopez, has a criminal past, including the illegal discharge of a firearm in 1991 and domestic abuse in 1996.
DeLeon’s 18-year-old son told the Los Angeles Times his father works in construction and always carries a towel to wipe away sweat.
The officers involved have been assigned to desk duty.
The shooting marked the 19th time a person has been shot by an LAPD officer this year.