Los Angeles police released body camera and other video surrounding two police shootings that occurred on the same day earlier this month, including one in University Park that left the suspect dead and an officer wounded.
The March 16 shootings are the first in a series of six carried out by LAPD officers in the span of a week, and seven in the past two weeks, ultimately leaving two suspects dead.
The first occurred after relatives reported 36-year-old Jorge Armando Cerda was armed with a gun in the backyard of their home in the 1000 block West 21st Street.
On 911 audio released Monday, a woman who identifies herself as Cerda’s aunt says she’s not sure what Cerda is doing, “but he’s all drugged up.”
Cerda allegedly fired his gun into the air while officers were in route, then barricaded himself in the home, prompting a SWAT team to respond. They speak with Cerda over his sister’s cellphone, trying to convince him to come out, bodycam video shows.
One officer who spoke with him over the phone says he told her, “I’m going to die today.”
“We don’t want to come in there,” she’s heard telling him. “We don’t want you to die today.”
Another officer warns him that “the longer we’re here, it gets worse.”
Four hours after authorities arrived on scene, the SWAT team declared an impasse and fired tear gas into the home, according to LAPD.
That prompted Cerda to shoot, striking Officer Rodney Williams’ body armor on his chest, the video shows.
As more shots are fired, Williams was also struck in the face. He was wearing a gas mask, and the bullet appears to have wounded an exposed area on his left cheek.
The body camera video then switches to a different officer’s, and Cerda is seen emerging from the home with a shotgun. He’s promptly shot by an officer in a second-story window of another residence on the property.
Officers handcuffed Cerda before requesting medical aid. Paramedics later declared him dead at the scene.
Williams, meanwhile, was treated at a hospital and was later released. LAPD Chief Michel Moore had said he visited him that same day, and Williams was “obviously shaken” but “grateful to be alive.”
Authorities say they recovered a shotgun and pistol belonging to Cerda at the scene. The shotgun was allegedly stolen, while the pistol was a ghost gun — meaning it was manufactured without a serial number and untraceable to law enforcement.
Hours later, LAPD officers shot a second man in Watts, in a transitional home in the 1600 block of East 109th Street.
In 911 audio from that incident, a man says his roommate Marco Diaz is armed with a butcher knife and “trying to cut my manager.”
The caller says Diaz was behaving erratically and he was unable to get in touch with Diaz’s parole officer.
“I don’t know what he’s on. I’ve never seen him like this,” he tells the dispatcher.
Responding officers went into the home and found Diaz knocking on the building manager’s door. Bodycam video shows Diaz holding at least one knife; LAPD says he was armed with two.
The video shows Diaz initially complied with officers’ orders, dropping his weapons and walking backward toward them. But he stops when they order him to put his hands on his head.
Diaz is then seen moving back toward the knives, and an officer fires a foam round at him, knocking him to the ground.
The officers continue ordering Diaz to come toward them, and after a time he indicates he’s in too much pain. But then he’s seen lunging into the manager’s room, where police say he slashed the victim’s head and hands.
At the same time, officers run down the hallway and at least one opens fire without warning, striking Diaz.
The manager was treated for wounds that were not life-threatening, and Diaz was hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower extremities, officials said.
Investigators say three knives were recovered from the scene.
On March 18, the district attorney’s office filed charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon against Diaz, according to LAPD.
Both shootings remain under review, and the Los Angeles Police Commission will make a final determination on whether officers were in line with department policy in their use of lethal force.