Police Release New Footage of South L.A. Shootout That Left Homicide Suspect Dead, FBI Agent Wounded

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Los Angeles police on Friday shared footage showing a violent confrontation in South L.A. that left a homicide suspect dead and an FBI agent injured in August.

Danny Valdez, 70, was fatally shot during a joint operation by LAPD and the FBI the morning of Aug. 7 at the Central Inn Motel in the Central-Alameda neighborhood.

The federal agent hurt in the incident, whose name was not released, has been recovering after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the wrist, according to authorities. No other officers were injured.

Officials had been looking for Valdez in connection with the deadly shooting of a man in the same South L.A. neighborhood on July 31.

According to the victim's family, Valdez fatally shot 42-year-old Jason Ruelas over a dispute over a housing arrangement.

Ruelas' mother said her son let Valdez, a cousin of her deceased husband, stay at his shop in South L.A. after he fell on hard times.

But the 70-year-old became messy, and when Ruelas asked him to move to a trailer he had bought for him, he refused, the victim's mother said.

She said her son told Valdez on July 31 that he had to go. When Valdez contacted police to claim squatters' rights, officers arrived and ordered him to leave, the woman told KTLA.

Police said Valdez returned around 4 p.m. that day, shot Ruelas and wounded one of the victim's friends. That person sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital, officials said at the time.

Valdez fled the scene after the shooting, according to police.

A week later, a fugitive task force comprised of LAPD officers and FBI agents found the suspect at Central Inn Motel, Commander Alan Hamilton with the Police Department said.

The agency released three surveillance videos that captured the ensuing confrontation, one taken from inside the motel's receptionist office and two from the parking lot.

In the footage, Valdez apparently starts shooting at the officers who had gathered outside the office.

The officers return fire and Valdez drops to the ground, video shows. A gun, a .38-caliber revolver, according to police, is seen near his body.

Hamilton said one FBI agent fired seven shots and two police officers fired a total of 15 shots.

Paramedics pronounced Valdez dead at the scene, the commander said.

LAPD made the footage public as part of a recently enacted policy to release videos involving police shootings within 45 days of the incident.

In the agency-produced video that includes the surveillance footage from the shootout, Hamilton noted that officers assigned to the fugitive task force don't wear body cameras.

Valdez had nor prior contact with mental evaluation units, and he was not linked to any gangs, according to the Police Department.

The agency said it expected the investigation to continue for several months before a final analysis could be submitted to the civilian board overseeing the department.


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