INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — A suspect, allegedly wielding a Samurai sword, was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in an officer-involved shooting.
The suspect was described as a male Asian who walked into a building owned by the Church of Scientology around 3:30 p.m. Police said there was an altercation in the lobby.
Police arrived and reportedly were both shot — one in the arm, one in the hand. The injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.
Authorities said the suspect is dead.
The Scientology Center is located in the 300 block of Market Street in Inglewood.
CBS2’s Dave Lopez reported from the chaotic scene. Police remained tight-lipped. In fact, he reported they didn’t even want to confirm the suspect who was dead was a male or not or even if in fact the suspect was deceased.
Sources said the suspect — who arrived on scene in a white Bentley without plates — died on the way to the hospital.
He spoke to a young woman named Kebrown Faris who read text messages from a woman she knew who had been inside the building.
She said, “A weird guy came into (the building) with a sword acting crazy. Police were called and he was shot, basically. But I’m fine and only the bad guy was shot.”
Police were still trying to piece together. They couldn’t tell Lopez if the suspect had a gun and if he didn’t, did the officers get wounded by friendly fire?
It was still unclear if the man was making a random attack or had targets. It was also unclear if the suspect had a gun in addition to the sword.
When Lopez asked Lieutenant Oscar Mejia who shot the officers, he replied, “At this point, our investigation is still preliminary. There are a lot of things that we are looking in to. And we don’t have the answers to that, as of this point, right now.”
He followed up with “Did the suspect have a gun?”
Mejia replied, “That’s what we are trying to determine. The crime scene is still fresh. There is a lot of evidence there that we have to process. There is video that we have to look at. So, at this point, that’s all we have as far as the investigation is concerned.”
Lopez said the building has an unarmed security guard.
Late Wednesday, KCAL9’s Rachel Kim reported that detectives were still poring over the crime scene.
The question remains who shot the officers if the suspect was carrying only the sword?
Detectives said they are also trying to establish why the suspect came to this location or if he was linked to anyone there.
Strangely, this is not the first time a deadly incident occurred at a Scientology center involving a sword. Kim reported that in 2008, a man with a sword – and former church member — came to the Scientology Center in Hollywood with two Samurai swords.
The man in that case allegedly threatened security guards in the parking lot. An armed guard killed the 48-year-old suspect in self defense.
The Church of Scientology issued a statement to Kim that read in part, “We thank the Inglewood Police Department, for their rapid response and for protecting our parishioners and staff members. These officers are doing a heroic job protecting the community and keeping houses of worship safe against hate crimes.”
They also said they were cooperating fully with authorities.