The Los Angeles Police Department has released body camera video after officers shot and killed a 19-year-old who was brandishing what turned out to be an airsoft rifle last weekend in South Los Angeles.
Luis Herrera, 19, was killed on 17 September when officers from the LAPD arrived at his family's home after receiving 911 calls from the young man complaining that his father was allegedly drunk and abusing his mother, police said.
"I tried to get involved and now he is attacking me," the 19-year-old can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher on a recording of the call that was also released by law enforcement.
'Put That Down'
Body camera footage released over the weekend on LAPD's YouTube channel shows two police officers arriving at the Los Angeles home at approximately 1.20pm, LAPD spokesperson Capt Kelly Muniz said in a video statement accompanying the release.
The pair of officers are seen knocking on the door when a man – later identified as Herrera – steps out allegedly brandishing what appeared to officers to be a black assault rifle, according to the footage. Investigators later determined the man was holding an airsoft rifle – a replica toy rifle used in airsoft sports.
"Hey whoa, put that down, put that down," officers can be heard shouting as the 19-year-old begins to step through the doorframe, apparently ignoring their repeated commands to drop the airsoft rifle that officers say he pointed in their direction.
'It's a Toy
After running to the side of the house, the pair of officers can be heard calling for backup before several shots are fired in the direction of the teen who had stepped into the front lawn of the home.The teen is struck by gunfire and falls to the ground before officers continued to shout at him to "drop the gun" as he writhes around on the pavement before being placed in handcuffs.
As one officer keeps his gun trained on the wounded teen, family members are heard exiting the home to see what had happened, with one woman wailing in off-camera: "That's my son."
Herrera's father is seen on the footage after the shooting alerting the officers that the gun, which had since been kicked away from the wounded man, was an airsoft rifle that shoots plastic projectiles.
"It's a toy. Why did they assault him?" a person off-camera can be heard saying in Spanish in the video footage released by the LAPD. "Why did they do that?"
The following video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.
Officer Placed on Administrative Leave Pending Investigation
The officer who fatally shot and killed Herrera was identified as Luis Navarrete, who the LAPD confirmed has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Once completed, the probe will be reviewed by the city's Chief of Police, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the Office of the Inspector General to determine the accuracy of the investigation and whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD's policies and procedures.
In addition to the airsoft rifle that Herrera was allegedly brandishing, officers also recovered an airsoft pistol that Capt Muniz said "resembled a glock pistol" at the scene of the officer involved shooting.
Investigators also said following the incident that there was no domestic violence between the 19-year-old's mother and father, contrary to what the teen had reported during the initial 911 reports.
Capt Muniz said that an investigation of the officer involved shooting will be carried out over the next several months, and that they will continue analysing evidence and interviewing any new witnesses that may come forward.
"We also do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted consistent with our policies and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete," Capt Muniz said.