Newly released video shows a police shooting in Los Angeles that left a knife-wielding suspect and his innocent hostage dead.
This LAPD graphic video is from a June 16 hostage situation. Officers received a radio call about a man who had stabbed his ex-girlfriend with a knife. Responding officers arrived on scene and confronted 32-year-old Guillermo Perez outside of a church. Perez was holding a metal folding chair and a large knife, CBS News reports.
Officers told Perez to drop the knife several times, but he ignored their commands. That’s when police fired non-lethal bean bag rounds at Perez in an attempt to subdue him.
But the bean bag rounds were ineffective. Perez moved away from officers and grabbed an innocent older woman as a hostage. The woman is identified as 49-year-old Elizabeth Tollison.
At that moment Perez began to cut Tollison’s throat with the knife. Three officers then shot at Perez in attempts to stop his actions, but police shot the female hostage too, killing both Perez and the hostage.
Officers fired 18 rounds total, Tollison was struck twice by police gunfire, and she later died at an area hospital.
Perez was recently released from prison, was a documented gang member, and has an extensive criminal past.
In a press conference Tuesday the LAPD indicated there’s much more work to be done in the investigation before recommendations are made on the actions of the officers involved. The investigation will look into whether proper procedures were followed.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore says:
“The life of the hostage is paramount and protecting that individual from the threat of the assailant, and in doing that, the balancing act that the officer has – is how to protect them by stopping the suspect’s actions. This was a tense situation that unfolded very quickly. It’s every officers’ worst nightmare. Hostages’ lives are a priority and recruits are generally taught to use a precise head shot. An investigation will look at whether the officers’ actions align with hostage training.”
The chief said it’s been 13 years since an officer’s gunfire killed an innocent bystander or hostage. But this is the second time a LAPD shooting of a hostage has occurred within the last six weeks. Just last month a Trader Joe’s store manager was killed by police gunfire in a shootout between LAPD and a standoff suspect.
The LAPD plans to implement a new training program and hopes to equip officers with other nonlethal weapons.