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Police fatally shoot man in Inglewood

July 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Inglewood police shot and killed a man after they say he pointed a gun at them. But the suspect's relatives are disputing the officers' version of events.The shooting happened at an apartment building on the 100 block of North Hillcrest Boulevard near Manchester Boulevard just after midnight. Family members insist the police had the wrong man. Officers say there was no mistake and insist they had no choice but to shoot.

Relatives identified the man as 38-year-old Kevin Wicks of Inglewood. They say the longtime postal worker was an innocent victim in the shooting.

Inglewood police say they received a family disturbance call from the apartment building just after midnight. Officers say they responded to unit 10, knocked on the door and were met by an armed man. He allegedly pointed a gun at the four responding officers, threatening their lives.

"Upon arrival they went up to the apartment in question, they knocked on the door," said said Lt. Mike McBride from the Inglewood Police Department. "The door was opened by an individual. He was armed with a handgun, and he immediately raised the handgun toward the officers, and at that point, the officers fired -- one officer fired -- which resulted in an officer involved shooting."

But family members tell a different story. They don't believe Wicks had a gun and they say they don't believe the story coming from the police department. The man's sister says the officers weren't at the right address.

"He was not in a family dispute," said Wicks' sister Nadia B. "He was just coming home, he just came home. They got the wrong call, wrong apartment and wrong everything."

Wicks was transported to the hospital where he died about an hour later.

The manager of the apartment building says the tenant that was shot and killed had lived at the complex for five months and was never a problem.

"He seemed [to be] a very peaceful man," said the manager. "Everybody seemed to like him. I've never had any problems with him as far as anything, you know. I knew he was a postal worker. I think he worked there for about 19 years or so."

Residents in the building also said they had no complaints about Wicks. They plan to hold a candlelight vigil to remember him at 5 p.m.

In the meantime, the Inglewood Police Department is responding to claims that they responded to the wrong address. They say 911 recordings prove they did respond to the address that the 911 caller gave.

Police say the man was armed and felt their lives were threatened so they fired one round. The four officers involved in the shooting were not hurt.

A thorough investigation is under way. Eyewitness News reporters Lisa Hernandez and Carlos Granda contributed to this report.

 

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