LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles police Tuesday released dramatic video in an officer-involved shooting in Van Nuys last month which left an innocent woman dead.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore released the body-camera footage of a June shooting that resulted in the death of a woman who was being held hostage by a knife-wielding man, who also was killed.
It marked the second time in the past six weeks in which an innocent woman was killed by gunfire from LAPD officers. As a result, Moore said, the department is reviewing its “less lethal” weapon options, and its training procedures.
On June 16 at around 1:10 p.m., officers responded to a homeless outreach center in the 6400 block of Tyrone Avenue on a report of a man with a knife assaulting a woman. After a tense standoff, officers fatally shot Guillermo Perez, 32, as he held a large serrated knife to the neck of Elizabeth Tollison, 49, Moore said.
“Tragically, the woman was also struck twice by gunfire,” Moore said.
Tollison died at a hospital two days later.
At a news conference at LAPD headquarters Tuesday morning, Moore discussed the shooting and displayed an edited “critical briefing” video that included footage from officers’ body cameras showing their actions at the shooting scene.
According to Moore, officers had ordered Perez to drop his knife, but he refused, ultimately holding it to Tollison’s neck. An officer had fired a beanbag shotgun during the confrontation, but it failed to stop Perez and the officers were forced to fire their handguns as the suspect pressed the knife into his hostage’s neck, Moore said. Eighteen rounds were fired.
Perez was a documented gang member who had previously been convicted of robbery, police said.
Moore said his department is reviewing a new “40mm launcher” weapon that fires a larger and more powerful projectile than the current beanbag shotguns. The weapon is more accurate and effective up to a distance of 100 feet, he said.
About six weeks after the June 16 shooting, on July 21, LAPD officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect who was fleeing into a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s store. The store’s assistant manager was killed in the crossfire. Moore said 27-year-old Melyda Corado was killed by a police bullet.
According to the LAPD, two officers — identified as Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans — fired a total of eight shots, one of which struck the suspect, 28-year-old Gene Evin Atkins, in the left arm. Another struck Corado, traveling through her arm and into her body, police said.
Atkins surrendered after a roughly three-hour hostage situation at the market. He has been charged with Corado’s murder, under the legal theory that he set the circumstances in motion that ended with her death.
Moore said Tuesday his department also reviewing any improvements it can make in its “command and control” training and procedures at crime scenes in the wake of these and other officer-involved shootings.
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