Three LAPD cops are facing criticism after another shooting in which officers killed a hostage.
On Tuesday, police released bodycam footage showing a June 16 incident where officers in Van Nuys shot knife-wielding Guillermo Perez, 32, and an innocent bystander he grabbed as a hostage.
WARNING: Graphic footage – Viewer discretion strongly advised.
The hostage, 49-year-old Elizabeth Tollison, was standing near a building using a walker as Perez approached with cops in pursuit. He proceeded to grab her and put a large knife to her throat.
“Drop the knife!” officers repeatedly ordered, but Perez did not comply.
At that point, three officers surrounding Perez, identified as Eugene Damiano, Andrew Trock and Cristian Bonilla, shoot a total of 18 times killing Perez and critically injuring Tollison. She later died at the hospital.
Police were initially pursuing Perez in response to a 911 call reporting he’d stabbed his ex-girlfriend.
“It’s a tragic circumstance,” said LAPD Chief Michael Moore. “In this instance, we’ll look to the officer’s actions … and determine how it measures up to training.”
Chief Moore outlined the LAPD hadn’t killed a hostage in 13 years, but “In the last six weeks, it’s happened twice.”
Police last week admitted they were responsible for shooting a Trader Joe’s shopper during a hostage situation last month.
“This is another case where officers were forced to make split-second decisions based on the actions of a violent individual,” Moore stated.
LAist notes Chief Moore’s first few weeks as LAPD head have been mired in police and suspect shootings.
The New York Times reports Chief Moore stated officers are trained to treat hostage lives as priority and that in such situations recruits are trained to aim for a “precise head shot.”
“He said an investigation will look at whether the officers’ actions align with hostage training,” according to The Times.
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