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Federal agents and West Covina police had been conducting a drug investigation of a man when he was fatally shot Thursday by a West Covina police officer, authorities said Friday.
Emmanuel Alvarez, 27, was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a five pounds of methamphetamine in his car when two West Covina police officers stopped him on Azusa Avenue, just north of Merced Avenue, at about 3 p.m. Thursday, West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said.
Police said Alvarez was shot to death after he reached for a semiautomatic handgun.
“These were criminals that were going to go out in a blaze of glory,” Wills said. “They were all carrying semiautomatic guns and bulletproof vests.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the request of West Covina police, were conducting a joint investigation into Alvarez and the two other men riding in the car, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with ICE.
Authorities identified those two as Fred Beltran, 23, and the dead man’s brother, Juan Carlos Alvarez, 37.
Wills said Alvarez and the two men were being investigated for “a narcotics violation and possession of illegal narcotics.”
Sheriff’s homicide investigators are en route to West Covina to investigate an officer involved shooting at the intersection of Azusa Avenue and Merced Street, officials said. Few details are available. The shooting appears to have been at the end of some sort of pursuit.
From reporter Dan Abendschein:
The two police officers who shot and killed 38-year-old Pasadena resident Leroy Barnes in February will not face any criminal charges from the county, officials said Wednesday.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office concluded its investigation Wednesday and notified the Pasadena Police Department of that finding, writing that the officers acted in “lawful self-defense.”
“This analysis must also allow for the fact that officers are often forced to make split-second judgments, about the amount of force that is necessary, in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving,” said the report’s conclusion.
Barnes, a parolee, was shot 11 times, including seven times in the back, after officers pulled over a car driven by Emeka Edwards on Mentone Avenue on Feb. 19. Barnes was a passenger.
Officers shot and seriously a man who reportedly tried to run them over near the Wal-Mart in Baldwin Park, officials reported Tuesday.
Edi Faal, the attorney representing the family of Leroy Barnes, said he learned at a community meeting this morning that Barnes was shot seven times in the back by officers.
We are working to verify this information. Obviously the coroner’s report will contain much of the needed proof.
Meanwhile, Pasadena police Chief Melekian is still scheduling a 2:30 p.m. meeting with the media to release the findings of his department’s investigation into Barnes’ shooting.
Melekian said the Office of Independent Review, which handles similar inquiries for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will conduct its own investigation.
Pasadena police Chief Barney Melekian met over lunch Monday with me and Pasadena Star-News City Editor Hector Gonzalez.
The primary purpose of the meeting was a wide-ranging discussion of the officer involved shooting that led to the death of Leroy Barnes in Pasadena in February.
Melekian said his department’s investigation had concluded the shotting was justified. He also said that the facts of the case in some way explain the two statements issued in the immediate aftermath of Barnes’ death.
The Chief also said he regretted putting together a statement so early. But explained it was his way of compensating for taking 14 hours to release a statement in the wake of the last fatal Pasadena OIS.
“Fourteen hours was too long,” he admitted. “Next time I’ll find that golden window of opportunity between 90 minutes and 14 hours.”
Melekian also lamented the decline of newspapers in America. And likened the plight of journalists and newspapers to the status of police departments and police officers 20 years ago.
“It seems like you all are talking just among yourselves,” he said. Cops “used to do that. But then we learned.”
The lunch took place at Japon Bistro on Colorado. Hector ordered tempura and california roll; the chief had the tempura and sushi plate.