LOS ANGELES – Dramatic video released Tuesday shows Los Angeles officers fatal shooting of a man and the woman he loved, with a knife to her throat, the first of two recent executions of hostages or bystanders if the police tried to stop the attackers.
Officers opened fire outside a church that helps the homeless after the man began with the cutting of the hostage, police said. Officers fired nearly 20 times on June 16, and the man and the woman, both transients, died on the spot.
It was the first time in 13 years that Los Angeles police killed someone they consider to be an “innocent bystander or hostage-taking.”
“This is another case where the officials were forced to make split-second decisions based on the actions of a violent individual,” the chief of police Michel Moore said.
The second fatal shooting came just five weeks later, when the police attempted an armed man from entering a Trader Joe’s store and a deadly shot in the supermarket the assistant manager, who was standing near.
The authorities said last week that an officer’s bullet killed Melyda Corado for a man took hostages in the store on July 21. Moore had defended the officers on the use of deadly violence as an attempt to stop what they fear a mass shooting.
The head of the police said on Tuesday that he was concerned because the average number of rounds fired by officers during the recordings had increased in the past year and the average number of officers involved in those shootings also increased.
The police will implement a new training program, and is exploring how to equip officers with non-lethal weapons, ” he said.
In the new released footage from officers’ body-worn cameras, police saw a suspect, Guillermo Perez, 32, with a large knife and a metal folding chair outside the Central Lutheran Church on June 16.
They went to the church, which provides food and support for homeless people after a 911 call reported a man had stabbed his ex-girlfriend. She was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
“Drop the knife!” an officer repeatedly called out on Perez, but he ignored the command.
An officer fires a few rounds from a bean bag shotgun which fires a small bag filled with metal pellets — but Perez seems to use the folding chair to deflect.
Perez runs backward and approaching a woman, Elizabeth Tollison, in the vicinity. He left the chair and put the knife on her throat.
Witnesses told police that Perez moved the knife in a “sawing motion against her throat and cut her throat,” Cmdr. Alan Hamilton, who leads the unit that investigates police shootings, said in the video.
Three of the agents opened fire from their pistols, shooting 18 rounds in total. Both Perez and Tollison were killed.
Moore told reporters that the hostages, the lives of a priority, and recruits are generally learned to make use of a “precise head shot.” He said that an investigation will look at whether the officers’ actions are in line with the hostages of the training.
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