Officer injured in shootout with suspect wielding machete, gun in Hawthorne

ByAmy Powell and staff via KABC logo
Sunday, November 20, 2016
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A Hawthorne police officer was injured in an officer-involved shooting Saturday afternoon while responding to a disturbance call at a Public Storage facility.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Hawthorne police officer was injured in an officer-involved shooting Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. at a Public Storage facility in the 4800 block of Rosecrans Avenue. Police had responded to the scene on reports of a man refusing to leave the building and that he was armed with a machete.

Yolanda Becerra was frightened when she got a phone call from her 32-year-old son who was at his storage unit in the facility. He told her the suspect started waving a gun around so he grabbed two female employees and found a place to hide.

"He just said that as soon as they heard shooting, they hid," Becerra said. "They just started shooting. He started shooting. He just said that they hid in the elevators so that he wouldn't harm the girls."

Lt. Gary Tomatani said when officers arrived, they saw the suspect inside the business and saw that he had a handgun in addition to the machete. That's when the shooting occurred, he said.

A six-year veteran was struck by gunfire, possibly in the leg, and it was a non-life-threatening injury, police said.

The suspect was also shot during the officer-involved shooting, but the injuries were non-life-threatening. The officer was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Another officer involved in the confrontation suffered an injury to his arm, but it was unclear what caused it.

The wounded officer was taken into surgery and is in stable condition.

Rosecrans Avenue was shut down in both directions during the investigation.

Anyone with information on the incident was urged to call the Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.