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LAPD Releases Video: Knife-Wielding Man at Van Nuys Church Grabs Woman as Hostage, Officers Shoot Both

9:17 AM PDT on August 1, 2018

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Los Angeles Police Department released a body-cam video Tuesday that shows the killing of an innocent hostage by LAPD officers, this time at a homeless outreach center at a Van Nuys church, where officers fired 18 rounds at a man holding a knife against the hostage’s throat.

    The graphic footage of the incident, which occurred June 16, is the second time in the past seven days that LAPD has released footage of an officer involved shooting of an innocent bystander. Last week, new Chief Mike Moore released similar dash cam and body cam footage of the shooting of Trader Joe’s assistant store manager Melyda Corado by officers in a shootout on the streets of Silver Lake. The LAPD's public releases of body-cam footage of officer involved shootings is in compliance with rules that went into effect earlier this year for more timely releases of so-called "critical incident" videos.

    Tuesday’s released footage shows a tense scene between multiple officers and a man, later identified as Guillermo Perez, wielding a knife and holding a rusty metal chair as a shield. The incident began when Perez allegedly stabbed at last one person during a free lunch offered by the Central Lutheran Church on Tyrone Avenue, reports said.

    "Hi, I have someone who stabbed somebody at my location. I need police now!" a woman caller says frantically, in audio of a 911 call that was released. When officers arrived, they confronted Perez in a courtyard, where he was holding a knife and chair. Officers shot beanbag projectiles at Perez, while yelling at at Perez to put the knife down, as the bean bags clanked against the chair.

    RELATED: LAPD Bullet Killed Silver Lake Trader Joe’s Manager Melyda Corado During Shooting

    Moments later, Perez grabs a woman standing against a wall, later identified as Elizabeth Tollison. Cmdr. Alan Hamilton, who narratives the LAPD video, explains that according to witness accounts, Perez began “a sawing motion” against the woman’s throat.

    In the footage, it is difficult to tell if that’s exactly what’s going on in the video, but Perez does appear to make a slashing move before three police officers fire a barrage of bullets, killing Perez and Tollison in the process.

    [dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]APD also released the names of the officers involved in the shooting: they are Van Nuys officers Cristian Bonilla, Eugene Damiano, and Andrew Trock. Chief Moore said Tuesday that they are investigating the proper use of force in the incident, and that he could not comment on whether 18 rounds was excessive.

    “The life of the hostage is paramount,” Moore said, adding he and all officers learned that in basic training. “The balancing act that the officer has is how to protect them by stopping the suspects' actions. Generally, as far as recruit training, we talk about a precise headshot.”

    Moore also pointed out that the department is taking steps to deal with the increase in these types of incidents. The number of officer involved shootings of individuals holding weapons such as knives is also on the rise, as is the number of rounds fired in these incidents, according to Moore.  

    Watch the full press conference below:

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