Syndicated by: Montana News
The following information is based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence. The Department’s understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed**
Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Force Investigation Division is investigating an Officer-Involved-Shooting (OIS) that occurred early Wednesday afternoon, in a North Hollywood residential community.
On May 27, 2020, around 11:35 a.m., LAPD, uniformed patrol officers, assigned to North Hollywood Division, responded to a “Neighbor Dispute” radio call for service, at the 6400 block of Elmer Avenue.
Upon arrival the officers spoke with the reporting persons and then attempted to make contact with the suspect (later identified as 50-year-old, Rommel Mendoza), who had returned to his residence on Elmer Avenue. As the officers approached Mendoza’s rear residence, he became verbally aggressive, and was screaming at the officers from inside the home. Mendoza then suddenly exited the residence, with a wide bladed sword, as he ordered the officers to shoot him and then aggressively moved towards the officers, causing them to redeploy to increase distance and safety between them and Mendoza.
The officers returned onto the street, made a radio request for “help” and took cover behind vehicles as Mendoza followed them, while still armed with the sword. As additional units responded, the officers continued to order Mendoza to drop the sword. Mendoza failed to comply and returned to his property.
Upon the arrival of sufficient units, a tactical plan was put in motion, which included designated officers with less lethal munitions, a communications officer and the assistance from a LAPD air unit. At approximately 12:15 p.m., Mendoza returned to the street, while still armed with the sword. Despite the numerous commands, Mendoza refused to surrender and began to advance towards the officers, which precipitated in the discharge of a 40mm less-lethal launcher and an OIS.
Mendoza was struck by gun fire and fell to the ground, where he was taken into custody without further incident.
The Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and rendered aide, but Mendoza died and was pronounced deceased. The Los Angeles County Corner’s Officer positively identified Mendoza and made the appropriate death notifications to his next of kin.
A large sword weapon was located at scene and recovered as evidence. Fortunately, no officers or innocent bystanders were injured during this incident.
LAPD’s specialized Force Investigation Division (FID) responded to the scene and began interviewing witnesses and collecting forensic evidence. A representative from the Office of the Inspector General responded and monitored the scene investigation.
The complete investigation will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and the Board of Police Commissioners and the Office of the Inspector General to determine the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation and whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD’s policies and procedures. Additionally, representatives from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who responded to the scene will review the subsequent FID investigation; evidence collected and witness statements to determine if the force used by the officers(s) was reasonable.