Update on West Covina officer-involved shooting

WEST COVINA — A police officer shot and killed a man Thursday after he allegedly grabbed for a gun during a routine traffic stop, authorities said.
The dead man had not been identified late Thursday, Lt. Liam Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. He appeared to be a Latino man in his 20s or 30s.
The shooting took place shortly before 2:50 p.m. on Azusa Avenue, just north of Merced Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Aura Sierra said in a written statement.
A two-man patrol car pulled over a Lincoln sedan with three men inside for a traffic violation, Gallagher said.
An officer ordered a rear passenger out of the car and began searching him when the man reached for a semi-automatic handgun in his waistband, the lieutenant said.
“The officer was in the process of patting him down,” Gallagher said. “The suspect reached for a handgun.”
“(The officer) pushed him away to make some distance and fired,” he said, adding that a single officer shot the man twice in the “upper torso.”
The other two men inside the car ran from police but were captured in a nearby neighborhood, said Gallagher.
Handguns allegedly dropped by both men as they ran were recovered, he added.
The two men were being detained at the West Covina Police Department late Thursday, sheriff’s and police officials said. It was not initially clear what charges they may face, and their names were not released.
The man who was shot by the officer was pronounced dead at the scene by officials from the West Covina Fire Department at 2:50 p.m., Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said.
No police officers were injured in the incident, Sierra said.
Officials declined to identify the officer who fired the shots, except to say that he is a “veteran” of the police department.
It was unclear Thursday why the men were allegedly driving around with handguns.
Sandy Nava of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said a team of deputies who specialize in officer-involved shooting investigations was sent to the scene.
West Covina police Lt. Tommy Garcia said it’s department policy to have sheriff’s officials investigate any use of force by officers that results in severe injury or death.
The policy is meant to ensure there are no conflicts of interest in the investigation, he added.
Department policy also mandates that officers involved in a shooting spend three days off patrol and undergo counseling, Garcia said.

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  • Franciso

    Congratulations Covina P.D. you performed your duty to protect and serve to the utmost of excellence while also protrcting yourelves. It’s a shame the two other armed low lifes were not sht by the brave men of the Covina P.D.

    Since when it is it a mystery to find cholos carrying guns?

  • Cholo

    Even a Cholo knows the difference between the City of Covina and the City of West Covina.

  • Anonymous

    learn how to spell dumb ass