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Police chief addresses fatal shooting

July 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Inglewood police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks insisted Friday that officers responded to the correct apartment in response to a report of a domestic dispute early Monday.Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks faced the media for the first time since Monday morning's officer involved shooting that left postal worker Kevin Wicks dead.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Leslie Miller's report

"I want to assure you that the police department is committed to an open and thorough investigation," said Chief Seabrooks.

Police went to 38-year-old Wicks' apartment shortly after midnight, and they said when they got there, Wicks answered the door with a gun.

That is when Officer Brian Ragan fired two shots, according to the Chief Seabrooks. One of the shots hit him in the chest and the other grazed his body and left a hole in the door.

The community is demanding to know how an officer involved in a fatal Inglewood shooting in May could be back on the job so soon.

"When Officer Ragan was returned to duty, there was no indication that there was anything that would affect his ability to competently carry out his duties," said Chief Seabrooks.

Wicks' family believes the officers went to the wrong apartment unit. A transcript of the 911 call also is casting some doubt.

In the 911 call, the dispatcher asks the caller if he is, "inside apartment number ten." The caller responds, "Yeah, I believe it is apartment number ten. I can't really tell. But I think it's the middle apartment."

Police say based on radio communication between the dispatcher and the responding officers, the police went to the right door.

In the 911 call, the officer asks the dispatcher, "4Adam35, confirm it's apartment number ten." The dispatcher responds, "Affirmative, it's number ten." The officer responded, "35, copy."

Four officers responded to the call and that is when Wicks, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service who never had a problem with police, was shot and killed.

"At this point preliminarily the officer who fired his weapon is the officer who saw the firearm," said Chief Seabrooks.

Family members also defended Wicks having a gun, saying he was very afraid of the neighborhood he was living in. Wicks' father spoke out after the new conference.

"It is out of character of my son to come to the door with a gun to greet police. I am not sure I believe that happened," said Austin Wicks II. "From my understanding, there was a lot of negative people in that complex, and he didn't feel comfortable there. He called me when he first moved, and he said didn't really like the environment, because of the transient people living in the vacant apartment."

And for the second time in past ten weeks Officer Brian Ragan has been placed on paid administrative leave while the department investigates. There have been three fatal shootings by Inglewood police officers in the last three months.

Community activists are calling for an independent investigation and Chief Seabrooks says that she is open to that.

 

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