Questions Arise Surrounding When LAPD Officers Should Return to Work After a Deadly Shooting

This summer, for the first time in his nearly five years as a Los Angeles police officer, Eden Medina shot someone.

Los Angeles police say Jesse Romero carried this gun before he was fatally shot by police in August. (Credit:Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police say Jesse Romero carried this gun before he was fatally shot by police in August. (Credit:Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Police say Medina opened fire July 28 as Omar Gonzalez fought with officers after a car chase ended in a Boyle Heights cul-de-sac. Police have released few details about the shooting, but said at least one witness saw the 36-year-old with a gun before Medina fatally shot him.

Twelve days later, the Hollenbeck Division gang officer fired his gun again, killing Jesse Romero two weeks shy of his 15th birthday. The Aug. 9 shooting prompted protests and criticism of the LAPD, amplified by the renewed national scrutiny over policing as well as conflicting accounts over whether Romero fired a gun at officers before he was shot.

The shootings offer a window into how the LAPD treats officers who fire their guns. While shootings by police have received much attention, they remain relatively rare events. In 2015, for example, the LAPD reported more than 1.5 million contacts between police and the public. Of those encounters, 21 ended with deadly gunfire from officers.

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