Mentally ill suspect dies after Sylmar officer-involved shooting

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A mentally ill suspect was shot and killed by Los Angeles police after he slashed a SWAT officer with a sharp object in Sylmar. (KABC)

A mentally ill suspect was shot and killed by Los Angeles police after he slashed a SWAT officer with a sharp object at the end of a more than six-hour standoff in Sylmar.

Police responded to a home around 7 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a call regarding an individual with a mental illness. A struggle occurred between the responding officers and the suspect, who police believe was armed with a knife.

Officers attempted to use a Taser on the suspect, but it was ineffective. The suspect, a man in his 20s, then ran back inside the residence.

SWAT officers and a mental health psychologist were called to the scene to try to coax the suspect into surrendering. SWAT officers flushed the suspect out with gas around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At that point, SWAT officers again tried to use a Taser and also shot the man with a beanbag round in order to subdue him, but it was ineffective, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said.

The man cut one of the SWAT officers with an unknown sharp object, prompting an officer-involved shooting. The suspect was struck by one bullet.

"We knew the nature of the call was a male with a mental illness, so they brought in the less lethal, they attempted to use that. They exhausted all their options. We called in our psychologists, we called in our crisis negotiation team. They introduced the gas. They really didn't want this to end in a violent situation," Aguilar said.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. His name has not been released.

The SWAT officer was treated for a laceration to his arm and released. No one else was injured.

Neighbors say the mother had recently passed away, and the son may have been having trouble coping.

"I believe he was going through some troubles, but he's a good kid. They're a really nice family," said neighbor Sam Miramontes.

The incident remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Office of the Inspector General, which is routine protocol following officer-involved shootings.
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