LAPD shoot man they allege threatened his wife and family

Los Angeles police officers on Friday shot a man after he allegedly threatened his estranged wife and her family and then brandished a handgun when confronted by police.

The man, whom authorities did not identify, suffered at least one gunshot wound. He was being treated at a local hospital and is in serious but stable condition, police said. No one else was injured.

Details of the shooting, which occurred in a parking lot between a beauty supply store and a Food 4 Less near the Van Nuys Airport, were under investigation, police said.

“What exactly he did with that handgun that led to the officer-involved shooting is part of the investigation,” said Det. Meghan Aguilar, a LAPD spokeswoman. “Detectives here will be looking at body-worn video, and of course interviewing the officer, talking to any witnesses they can locate and identify, and looking for surveillance footage.”

The shooting marked the third time this year an LAPD officer has resorted to opening fire on a suspect and the second this week. On Wednesday, officers fatally shot a man who allegedly was attacking his girlfriend with a knife in Vermont Square. Last week, officers shot a man who they said had brandished a replica weapon in an alley. Those incidents remain under investigation.

Hours after Friday’s shooting, detectives at the scene were looking into whether a security camera on a food truck that was parked at the edge of the parking lot had captured the confrontation.

Danny Hernandez, 26, who grew up in the area and runs the Mariscos El Mazatleco Mexican Seafood truck, said employees “threw themselves to the floor” of the truck when the shooting began.

“I’ve never witnessed anything like this,” he said as officers worked to copy the truck’s video footage inside the narrow workspace of the truck and he and his staff continued to cook. “It’s not something you see in the area. Maybe back in the day, but not anymore.”

The Times reviewed the footage from the truck’s camera, which showed a police SUV roll through the parking lot and stop behind a big white truck. Although the truck is in the distance, the driver can be seen opening the door and exiting. Seconds later, people in other parts of the parking lot appear to take cover. One woman is seen getting out of her car and crouching down behind it.

Several more police vehicles arrived soon after.

According to Aguilar, the incident began about 10:40 a.m. Friday, when officers from the department’s West Valley Division were called to a home on the 7300 block of Aldea Avenue about a mile from the shopping center where the shooting occurred.

Family members at the home told the officers that the estranged husband of a woman who lived at the house had “brandished a handgun and threatened them,” Aguilar said.

When the officers learned that the estranged wife worked nearby, they “immediately conducted a follow-up” investigation by responding to her workplace, Aguilar said. The officers found the husband in the white truck, she said.

Officers ordered the man out of the vehicle, Aguilar said, and “when he exited the vehicle, he was still armed.”

Investigators had not yet determined if one or both of the officers opened fire, and if the suspect opened fire, police officials said. It was also unknown if the video cameras worn by the officers “were activated, if it was a timely activation, and what they show,” Aguilar said.

The woman was not at work at the time but the episode had been “traumatic” for her and her relatives, Aguilar said.

“I can’t imagine how terrifying this morning was for that family,” she said. “And then to find him over here where he knows she works? We can only imagine what his intention was.”

Detectives from the Force Investigation Division and the LAPD’s inspector general’s office, who review police shootings, were on scene, and their findings will be reviewed by LAPD Chief Michel Moore and the Police Commission.

LAPD officers shot 27 people in 2020 and 26 the year before, the lowest totals in decades. Seven of the shootings last year were fatal, the lowest number of deadly shootings in a year that the LAPD has ever recorded. In prior years it was common for LAPD officers to shoot dozens more people annually.

Eric Lloyd, 42, got off the bus after work Friday to find the shopping center swarming with police officers. Green evidence cones surrounded the white truck and the police vehicle behind it, each still with their doors open.

“I thought they were filming a movie. I was like, ‘Can I get in the movie?’” Lloyd said. “They were like, ‘Nah. This is real life.’”