From the Los Angeles Times (February 8, 2013), on a recent police shooting in Torrance, California. Emphasis is mine.
It was around 5 a.m. in Torrance on Thursday and police from nearby El Segundo had seen a pickup truck exit a freeway and head in the general direction of the Redbeam Avenue residence of a high-ranking Los Angeles police official, which was being guarded by a group of LAPD officers. Police were on the lookout for Christopher Jordan Dorner, a disgruntled ex-cop suspected of hunting down members of the LAPD . A few minutes later, a truck slowly rolled down the quiet residential street.
As the vehicle approached the house, officers opened fire, unloading a barrage of bullets into the back of the truck. When the shooting stopped, they quickly realized their mistake. The truck was not a Nissan Titan, but a Toyota Tacoma. The color wasn’t gray, but aqua blue. And it wasn’t Dorner inside the truck, but a woman and her mother delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times.
In an interview with The Times on Friday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck outlined the most detailed account yet of how the shooting unfolded. Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were the victims ofa tragic misinterpretationThey declined to say how many officers were involved, what kind of weapons they used, how many bullets were fired and, perhaps most important, what kind of verbal warnings — if any — were given to the women before the shooting began.
Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least seven officers opened fire. On Friday, the street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs. Residents said they wanted to know what happened.
Glen T. Jonas, the attorney representing the women, said the police officers gaveno comments, no instructions and no opportunity to surrenderbefore opening fire. He described a terrifying encounter in which the pair were in the early part of their delivery route through several South Bay communities. Hernandez was in the back seat handing papers to her daughter, who was driving. Carranza would briefly slow the truck to throw papers on driveways and front walks.
As bullets tore through the cabin, the two womencovered their faces and huddled down,Jonas said.They felt like it was going on forever.
Hernandez was shot twice in her back and is expected to recover. Her daughter escaped with only minor wounds from broken glass. . . .
Jonas estimated that the officers fired between 20 and 30 rounds. Photographs of the back of the truck showed at least two dozen bullet holes. Neighbors, however, suggested there were more shots fired.
A day after the shooting, residents in the street surveyed the damage.
Kathy Merkosky, 53, was outside her stucco home pointing out the six bullet holes in the bumper and grill of her silver Acura MD-X. She knew her truck was damaged when she spotted it on television andsaw fluid flowing into the street.
Her Ford Focus was hit as well — a bullet shattered the windshield and another flattened a front tire.
[Neighbor Richard] Goo said he could hear the bullets hitting the front door and feared they were coming through the house.
He said he called 911 for the police, but was notified that they were already there.
–Joel Rubin, Angel Jennings and Andrew Blankstein, Details emerge in LAPD’s mistaken shooting of newspaper carriers, Los Angeles Times (February 8, 2013)
Here’s more on the Official Reaction, from the same story:
After the investigation is completed, Beck and an oversight board will decide if officers were justified in the shooting .
Fun fact: if you delete the
if from this sentence it will still be a completely accurate statement about what is going to happen.
or made mistakes that warrant either punishment or training.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck isn’t sure whether or not a gang of cops lighting up completely the wrong vehicle and shooting an innocent 71-year-old woman twice in the back is
making a mistake.
But if it is, it’s a
mistake that warrants punishment or training.
Do you feel safer now?