LOS ANGELES — A fugitive shot and killed by police and a federal agent as he stood on a rooftop was not armed, despite initial reports that he not only had a gun but fired it, authorities said Wednesday.
The investigation into last week’s shooting in La Mirada found no evidence that Frank Martinez had fired or been in possession of a handgun. Police and witnesses reported seeing one, and officers thought he had fired at least one shot, Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Associated Press.
“The officers believed that the suspect had a gun hidden in his pocket,” Smith said.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed the preliminary findings, saying, “it’s very important to correct the record.”
Neither would give a reason why Martinez was believed to have a gun. They said that both agencies were beginning a far-reaching probe involving Los Angeles police and the FBI.
Martinez was wanted on a warrant for two murders out of the Hollenbeck area of Los Angeles, acoording to police.
A statement from police suggested that Martinez wanted police to believe he was armed. “The suspect refused to comply with officers and used his hand inside his pants to simulate pointing a gun at the officers,” it said.
A joint LAPD-FBI task force had obtained an arrest warrant for Martinez, a documented gang member suspected of killing two other reputed gang members in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles on Nov. 30. On the morning of March 2, authorities tracked him to a home in La Mirada in southern Los Angeles County, where he was cornered.
Martinez fled out the back and climbed on to the roof of a detached garage, where he was shot and killed. Three officers and an FBI agent were involved in the shooting, police said.
Police handcuffed Martinez while he was on the roof. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.
Eimiller said similar joint task forces are constantly seeking fugitives in Southern California, far more than the public realizes.
“They are out there every day arresting people,” she said. “But this obviously was not a usual situation.”
- From the Associated Press