Los Angeles police shooting part of series of deadly standoffs | VailDaily.com

Los Angeles police shooting part of series of deadly standoffs

LOS ANGELES – A police commander on Saturday defended the actions of SWAT members who killed a young girl in a shootout with her father, one of three standoffs in the past nine months in which officers killed suspects holding hostages.”Those people did the absolute best job that they could,” said Capt. Scott Kroeber, who had been invited by community activists to a South Los Angeles coffee house. “When you’re being shot at, it’s very difficult to get off a precision shot.”SWAT officers cornered Jose Pena in his Watts car business’ office July 10. The distraught father was holding his 19-month-old daughter Suzie in his arms as he fired a 9 mm handgun, wounding one officer.The gun battle was the most violent of three recent shootings involving police. In November, police shot a gunman who held a pregnant woman by the neck outside the Mexican Consulate. Officers pulled the woman away unharmed and the man later died.The following month, an officer shot and killed a carjacking suspect who burst into a crowded card club and took two people hostage at gunpoint. No one else was injured.The three shootings are the only since 1998 in which Los Angeles police officers have fired on hostage-takers, according to data from the city’s civilian police commission. The final one was the only in which a hostage was hurt or died.The cluster of shootings appeared to be a coincidence, and there had been no change in policy or training, Kroeber said.In the latest shooting, police claimed Pena, 34, had ingested cocaine and alcohol before threatening his wife and stepdaughter and shooting wildly in the streets. The coroner’s toxicology report is pending.Pena, an illegal immigrant, had a history of drug abuse, authorities said.A lawyer representing the slain girl’s mother said the shootouts indicated possible training gaps.”Did they follow proper police procedures? Were they trained properly? All of these questions have to be answered,” attorney Luis Carrillo said.Vail – Colorado

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