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LAPD Officer Slain, Manhunt Snares Suspect
Two-Year Veteran Fatally Shot At Close Range
Feb 20, 2004 8:00 pm US/Pacific
LOS ANGELES (AP) Two weeks after community leaders urged an end to attacks on police, an officer was shot to death Friday while answering a report of domestic violence, prompting a huge manhunt that ended with one arrest.
Officer Ricardo Lizarraga, 30, of Los Angeles, was shot in the lower abdomen, below his bulletproof vest, and died about two hours later at a hospital, police said.
Lizarraga was a two-year veteran assigned to the Newton area, Officer Don Cox said.
Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said a woman flagged down officers in the South Los Angeles community of Leimert Park at about 1 p.m. and directed them to a nearby apartment.
Lt. Art Miller said the woman told officers that she was having problems with a male friend and asked that he be removed from the home.
"As they approached him for a pat-down search, the suspect came up with a gun and began shooting," McDonnell said.
The man fired several shots, striking Lizarraga while his partner returned fire. It was unclear whether the gunman was hit, authorities said.
Lizarraga had no pulse when he arrived at a hospital but underwent 11/2 hours of surgery anyway. He was pronounced dead at about 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, including heavily armed SWAT officers, dog teams and helicopters, searched a 15-square-block area.
About 31/2 hours later, a dog team found a man hiding in the trunk of an abandoned car in an alley three streets away from the shooting scene, police said.
Kendrick William Johnson, 32, was arrested, McDonnell said. He described Johnson as a gang member and parolee with "an extensive" criminal record.
Television news reports showed SWAT officers surrounding a handcuffed man lying on the muddy ground. Officers lifted the sleeve of his sweat shirt to examine his left upper arm, apparently for a tiger tattoo that was one of the identification marks for the suspected attacker.
Mayor James Hahn, state Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas and others expressed their sorrow for the shooting and called for an end to gun violence, particularly in the South Los Angeles area.
"Certainly all of Los Angeles is in mourning for the loss of one of our finest," Hahn said during a press conference.
The killing came two weeks after two dozen Los Angeles area ministers and activists made a public appeal to help stop attacks on police officers.
There were 40 shootings targeting police officers last year, a 21 percent rise from the previous year. Two officers were wounded. More than a dozen of the shootings occurred in South Los Angeles, where many of the neighborhoods are poor and plagued by gangs.
"Uniformed officers in black-and-whites are being routinely shot at, putting their lives in risk," Police Chief William J. Bratton said at the time.
McDonnell said police have been waging a campaign against hardcore members of gangs.
"I think that we have come out very aggressively against gang violence" and police shootings may be "pushback" from desperate gang members, he said.
A couple days later this [Explicit] hung himself in mens central jail. He knew he was going to die one way or another..........
This just hits home because its in the neighborhood i work in
Man this neighborhood is going to s**t
Rest in Peace brother , you will be truly missed
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02-27-2004, 11:00 AM #1
LODD-LAPD Officer Shot and Killed
02-27-2004, 11:49 AM #2
Deepest sympathy and best wishes to our law enforcement brothers & sisters in LA.~Kevin
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
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