After initially confirming few details, Los Angeles police on Wednesday gave an account of some of what led up to officers fatally shooting a man at a shopping center in Baldwin Hills.
The incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, where officers were responding to a call about a man with a knife, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.
When officers arrived inside the mall they found a black man brandishing a long knife in an aggressive manner, LAPD said.
Officers repeatedly ordered him to drop the knife, but he did not. Authorities described the man as “very agitated” and said it seemed he was intoxicated or suffering a mental health crisis.
The man was then shot by police as he ran toward mall patrons with the knife still in hand, according to LAPD.
A bystander at the scene told KTLA it appeared more like the man was running away from police.
The witness, Juan Zepeda, also said the man had been in the mall behaving erratically for about an hour before officers arrived.
Authorities said the suspect’s actions seemed to constitute an “isolated incident,” not a “mass knife attack situation.”
Police have not disclosed how many rounds were fired or how many bullets struck the man, but one woman who works at the mall said she heard seven shots.
Officials also have not released his identity. According to the Los Angeles Times, he was the eight person shot and sixth killed by LAPD this year.
A probe of the incident is being handled by LAPD’s internal investigative division, and the U.S. Office of Inspector General oversaw the on-scene investigation Tuesday, police said.
The results will be reviewed by the police chief and commissioners board as well as OIG to determine whether the use of fatal force was in compliance with LAPD policy. The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office will also review the case.