The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has released a video that shows officers killing a hostage as they attempt to neutralize her knife-wielding captor.
Footage from body cameras worn by LAPD officers involved in the incident shows them approaching Guillermo Perez, 32, a known gang member who had just been released from prison for a domestic abuse sentence. Police were responding to a call that he had just stabbed his ex-girlfriend in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The date is June 16.
The officers repeatedly demand Perez drop his knife, and fire non-lethal beanbag rounds at the gangbanger, who shields his body with a steel chair.
Perez then corners Elizabeth Tollison, a 49-year-old homeless woman standing by on the sidewalk, and holds his knife to her throat. Officers open fire on Perez, discharging 18 shots and killing Tollison by accident.
on Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michael Moore said that his department will implement new training, and equip officers with a 40-millimeter launcher that fires foam rounds and has a greater chance of stopping suspects than the beanbag gun.
LAPD Chief Moore presents the latest Critical Incident Video from an Officer-Involved Shooting in Van Nuys https://t.co/3qgJuyRVtL— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 31, 2018
Moore said that LAPD officers have always been trained to kill a hostage taker with a “precise head shot,” and blamed poor organization among officers at the scene for Tollison’s death.
"Tragically, this was another case where officers were forced to make split-second decisions based on the actions of a violent individual," Moore said. "This was a tense situation that unfolded very quickly, and it's every officer's worst nightmare."
A month after the Van Nuys shooting, a store manager was fatally shot by an LAPD officer exchanging gunfire with a suspect inside a grocery store. Before the two shootings, the department had gone 13 years without killing a hostage or bystander.
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