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Undercover cops fatally shoot drug deal suspect downtown

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two undercover police officers fatally shot a suspect in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday.

The two undercover officers witnessed drug activity and approached a suspect. The suspect reportedly pulled out a knife. Officers then fired on the suspect.

The suspect reportedly did not have a gun.

The shooting occurred near Fifth and Spring streets at about 12:20 p.m., according to the LAPD.

"They made contact with that person and at that time, the individual turned around and it appeared that he had a knife in his hand," said LAPD Capt. Todd Chamberlain. "The officers stepped back and I believe at that point they continued to verbalize with him, and subsequently, an officer-involved shooting occurred where the officers fired a number of rounds at the suspect.

"The suspect went to the ground and dropped the weapon and was detained by the officers," said Chamberlain. "He was subsequently taken to the hospital and he expired from his injuries at that time."

But according to two people who claim to have been near the Alexandria when the shots rang out, they say the officers didn't identify themselves and that the suspect didn't threaten the officers with his knife.

One man who would only identify himself as "Ant" says he was walking by the Alexandria Hotel when the shooting happened.

"They jumped out and they said 'Bam-bam.' He had his knife still inside the holster, still inside. When they picked him off the ground, his knife was still in the same place," said "Ant." "I seen the knife in the case. He never had the knife on him. By the time he got to get his knife out, he was already on the ground. That was how fast it went."

Joseph Ruiz was in his room in the Alexandria when he heard the shots.

"I seen one guy on the floor and two cops just aiming the gun at him. Maybe about two minutes later, cops just all came at one time, but didn't look like he posed any threat or anything," said Ruiz.

According to the LAPD, one officer did the shooting. The officers were still being questioned by detectives Tuesday afternoon.

The deceased suspect's identity was not released.

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