Hammer-wielding man shot by deputy outside Van Nuys courthouse: Officials

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Detectives investigate the scene of where a deputy shot and wounded a hammer wielding man outside the Los Angeles County Superior Court's Van Nuys branch on April 3, 2020. (KTLA)

Detectives investigate the scene of where a deputy shot and wounded a hammer wielding man outside the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Van Nuys branch on April 3, 2020. (KTLA)

A deputy shot and wounded a man who pulled out a hammer and charged at the deputy in a seemingly random attack at the doors of a courthouse in Van Nuys on Friday, authorities said.

The bizarre incident unfolded shortly before noon outside the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Van Nuys branch, 14400 Erwin Street.

Deputies were working at a security checkpoint just outside of the courthouse doors when a man approached carrying a backpack, Lt. Robert Westfall of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said.

“That individual pulled a hammer out of the backpack, held it over his head and moved toward the deputies,” the lieutenant said.

A hammer marked with an evidence card sits at the scene of a deputy-involved shooting outside the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Van Nuys branch on April 3, 2020. (KTLA)

One deputy fired a shot, striking the suspect in the “lower extremities,” according to Westfall. The wounded suspect was treated and released from the hospital hours later, officials said.

The suspect threw the hammer at the deputies during the incident, but none were hurt, he said. The claw hammer was recovered at the scene.

The man said nothing prior to the attack, officials said. His identity was not available Friday afternoon.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, sheriff’s officials said.

Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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