New details released in South Los Angeles officer shooting


It was a huge police response. The LAPD set up a 72-block perimeter in South L.A. after a suspect shot at an officer on Aug. 25.

There were details coming from the scene and from the hospital. But now it turns out some things didn't happen the way police said.

The call went out as an officer-involved shooting and within minutes dozens of officers, including SWAT, began an intense search in South L.A.

The report was that two LAPD officers tried to make a pedestrian stop and the suspects started shooting.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith from LAPD previously said that uniformed officers in a black and white police car were patrolling the area.

But on Thursday, police changed their version of what happened. Now they say the officers were in uniform, but in an unmarked car.

And there are also questions about a bulletproof vest. At the time the surgeon at the hospital said it saved the officer's life.

"The bullet vest played a very good job in protecting his life," said the doctor at an Aug. 25 press conference. "The bullets that hit his chest could have entered his chest, and luckily it didn't because of the vest."

The following day after the press conference, police showed Eyewitness News a vest officers wear. But now police say the officer was not wearing a vest at all.

"I never told anybody the officer has a vest on because I really didn't know at the time," said L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck. "It turns he did not. I think actually the doctor was a little confused. You have to remember when they get to the hospital all of that is off, everything is gone. So the doctor has no way of knowing if he was wearing a vest or not."

At the time police said a suspect had been shot and was in custody. Now it turns out he wasn't a suspect but an innocent bystander. And he wasn't shot.

Beck says at the time they gave the information they believed it to be accurate.

"In a big incident with a lot of information and a lot of moving parts, initially some of the things is not going to be accurate," said Beck.

Beck says in an officer-involved shooting, the investigation is handled differently from other cases.

"We isolate the officers so we can get their best independent statement," said Beck. "So their statement's not influenced either by their partner officer or by anything else. So that isolation has a cost to it. And that cost is that we don't get as much information out as you normally could in a non-critical incident."

Police officials say because it was an officer-involved shooting, it's handled very carefully. They try to gather information from every possible source and the investigation won't be completed for about six months.

Beck is a guest on /*Eyewitness Newsmakers*/. You can see that interview Sunday at 11 a.m. on ABC7.

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