A police officer was shot in the face and a suspect was killed in an exchange of gunfire during a SWAT response at a home in University Park Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
Authorities initially responded to the 1000 block of West 21st Street around 12:15 p.m. to investigate reports of someone firing a rifle into the air, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said during a news briefing near the scene.
The lot involved contains two residences, a front and a back, and the gunman was in the rear yard. Occupants of the front house are relatives of the man, who gave “varying accounts” of the gunman’s mental health condition, whether he was on drugs, and how many guns he had, according to Moore.
The suspect barricaded himself in a home and a SWAT team responded. Other family members at the scene were evacuated, the chief said.
Authorities tried to coax the man from the home, including sending in recording of his family members pleading for him to surrender. When that was unsuccessful, they decided to use tear gas, Moore said.
At that point, the man began firing from the home. It appears a SWAT officer was struck in his chest, where he was wearing body armor, Moore said.
When additional rounds of tear gas were sent into the home, the suspect exited and “engaged officers on scene,” causing police to return fire, Moore said.
The SWAT officer who initially thought he was shot in the chest was struck in the face and taken to a nearby hospital, the chief said.
The suspect, meanwhile, died at the scene after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.
Moore said he had already visited the officer at the hospital, saying he was “obviously shaken” but “grateful to be alive.”
“I am thankful for the SWAT officers that risked their life in rescuing him and getting him immediate medical attention,” Moore said. “And I’m also grateful that there was no other further loss of life in this ordeal.”
Authorities have not identified the officer wounded or the man killed, describing the suspect only as a Hispanic man believed to be 37 years old.
Officials from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office were responding to investigate, and no further details were available.
Hours later, LAPD officers were involved in another shooting, in Watts. A man who’d allegedly been attacking his roommate with a knife was shot and wounded by responding officers.
That suspect was in surgery Tuesday night, and the shooting also remained under investigation.