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2 officer-involved shootings in Wilmington

March 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A dramatic police shooting in Wilmington is caught on tape, just three hours after another police shooting less than 30 yards away. One suspect is dead and another is critically injured. It remains a very active scene in Wilmington as the LAPD continues its investigation into the two officer-involved shootings. Both shootings happened Thursday night near Watson Avenue and East L Street.

Family members of the suspect involved in the second incident say the two shootings are not related. At this point, family members say they don't know why he approached police with a gun.

Gunfire erupted in a Wilmington neighborhood just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday, a second officer-involved shooting just hours and yards away from another OIS. Moments later there was more gunfire and devastated family members.

"There was girls in that house, they were screaming 'leave him alone, leave him alone, he didn't do nothing.' Then you hear them shooting him again, 'pow, pow, pow.' And the girl said 'he's already down what are you shooting him for,'" said Alex Muratalla, a resident in the neighborhood.

Officers carried Frank Vasquez from the scene. He was rushed to the hospital with numerous gunshot wounds, but is expected to survive.

Detectives say the 47-year-old grandfather was armed when he walked into the crime scene as police were investigating the first officer-involved shooting.

Family members say Vasquez was depressed and had just been released from the hospital on a psychological evaluation on Thursday.

"We didn't know that he had the gun on him at the time until it was too late," said Rolondo Mota, the suspect's son-in-law. "Then once we seen the shooting, you know, we didn't expect the cops to keep shooting the way they did."

The gunfire first broke out at around 9 p.m. at Drumm Avenue and East L Street in Wilmington. Two officers in the gang detail stopped a suspect on a bicycle.

"They stopped to investigate, at which point the officers noted that the suspect had a weapon. It had been a firearm, which caused the officer-involved shooting," said Lt. Ruben De La Torre, LAPD.

The suspect died at the hospital.

It's a rare situation for the LAPD, now investigating two different officer-involved shootings, with two different suspects.

Investigators say two officers were involved in the first officer-involved shooting, but it's unclear how many officers fired in the second incident.

 

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