Shocking footage shows trigger-happy LAPD officers fatally shooting a man and the woman he was using as a human shied
LAPD officers were seen fatally shooting a man and the woman he was using as a human shield after responding to a 911 call
In a shocking video that was released on July 30, Los Angeles police officers can be seen fatally shooting a man and the woman he was using as a human shield with a knife to her throat. This is the first of two recent killings that took place while police were trying to stop the attackers but ended up killing the hostage or bystander.
The authorities revealed that the officers opened fire outside a church that helps the homeless in the area after a man was seen taking a hostage. The officers in the video could be seen firing their weapons almost 20 times on June 16. Both the man and the woman who died at the scene were considered to be transients or a person who is staying or working in the area only for a short period of time.
According to the Daily Mail, this was the first time in 13 years that LAPD has killed someone whom they consider an "innocent bystander or hostage". Police Chief Michael Moore said in a statement: "This is another case where officers were forced to make split-second decisions based on the actions of a violent individual."
This incident is the second time a fatal shooting is taking place just five weeks after police officers tried to stop an armed man from going inside a Trader Joe's store and ended up fatally shooting the supermarket's assistant manager who had been standing close by.
The authorities have said that a bullet from an officer's weapon killed Malyda Corado before the man went inside the store and took multiple hostages on July 21. Moore defended the deadly force used by the officers as an attempt to stop what the officers had been afraid would turn into a mass shooting.
The chief said on July 31 that he had been worried about the average number of rounds that had been fired by officers has been on the increase since last year and that the average number of officers involved in the shootings had also increased. He said that the department is looking to launch a new training program and is also exploring the possibility of police officers using non-lethal weapons.
In the footage that was captured from the officers' body cameras, the officers saw the suspect, 32-year-old Guillermo Perez, holding a very large knife and a metal folding chair outside the Central Lutheran Church on June 16. The officers had responded to the church, known to provide food and support to the homeless, after a 911 call reported that a man had stabbed a woman who was assumed to be his girlfriend. The woman was taken to the hospital with non-lethal injuries.
An officer can be heard shouting at Perez: "Drop the knife!" but the man ignores the command. One of the officers fires a few rounds from a beanbag shotgun, which fires rounds of small sacks filled with metal pellets, but Perez starts using the metal folding chair as a shield to deflect the rounds. He can then be seen walking backward and approaching a woman, Elizabeth Tollison, who happened to be standing nearby.
Perez drops the chair and immediately puts the large knife to Tollison's throat. Commander Alan Hamilton, the man who leads the police unit that investigates police shootings, said that witnesses told the officers that Perez had moved the knife in a "sawing motion against her throat and cut her throat". Three of the officers then opened fire with their weapons and shot 18 rounds in total. Both Perez, as well as his hostage, were killed in the incident.
Moore told reporters later on that the hostages' "lives are a priority and recruits are generally taught to use a precise head shot". He also said that an investigation will be launched that will look into the actions of the officers and if it coincides with hostage training.