LA police kill 'human shield' toddler - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 07-11-2005, 08:56 PM
 
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This father used his toddler daughter as a shield in a standoff with police. Police still fired at them and killed them both. I don't know, but I feel like they (police) could have done more to prevent this. I mean if they had to shoot the guy couldn't they have used a sharp shooter to get the guy without hitting the little girl??? I think the situation is being evaluated to see if the shootout was the only solution as the officers are claiming. What a tragedy.



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LA police kill 'human shield' toddler

July 12, 2005 - 5:44AM





A toddler was shot and killed when her father used her as a human shield in a gunbattle with Los Angeles police.



The man also died and a police officer was wounded in the hours-long standoff, officials said.



The man was identified as Jose Raul Lemos, and the girl, about 17 months old, was his daughter, police said.



The officer, who was not immediately identified, was shot in the shoulder and was expected to recover.



"He was using the baby as a shield," Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell said.



"We showed a tremendous amount of restraint, but unfortunately the suspect's actions dictated this," he said.



"It's a true tragedy."



The child's mother, Lorena Lopez, said she pleaded with officers to hold their fire.



"He had problems with depression, his business was not doing well," Lopez told KNBC-TV.



"I told them that he needed help, he needs a psychologist, but please don't shoot. They didn't understand, and the police fired, like, 300 shots."



It was unclear who fired the shot that hit the girl, but officers were struggling with the thought that they killed a baby, McDonnell said.



"The officers are taking it very hard," he said.



"Anytime you have a baby killed, it takes its toll."



The standoff began at around 3.50pm (0550 Monday AEST) when officers went to an area in South Los Angeles west of Watts, after residents reported an armed man standing near an intersection with a toddler and behaving erratically and aggressively.



There were three exchanges of gunfire between police and Lemos, who was about 35, McDonnell told reporters. In the final exchange, at around 6.20pm (0820 Monday AEST), Lemos held the girl as he shot.



"We did everything we could to hold our fire," McDonnell said.



At one point, Lemos retreated into an apartment building, where police said he held the girl hostage.



Police called in a SWAT team and tried to speak with the man. When they at one point tried to help a neighbour escape the area, he fired at them and they fired back, McDonnell said.



Under police regulations, officers may only fire "when it reasonably appears necessary" to protect themselves or others from death or serious injury.



The man had a 9mm handgun and a shotgun and was intoxicated on drugs and alcohol, police said.

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#2 Old 07-11-2005, 09:11 PM
 
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I just read that on MSN.



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I mean if they had to shoot the guy couldn't they have used a sharp shooter to get the guy without hitting the little girl???



Depends. If he was likely to kill one of them (quite probable) and they had no snipers there yet, there would only be so much they could do to avoid further casualties.
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#3 Old 07-11-2005, 09:27 PM
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Once he starts shooting, the police are in a position where they may have no choice but to respond.
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#4 Old 07-11-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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I can't really say if the police were at fault here, as I wasn't there. But regardless, this must be a tough tragedy to handle, both for the mother and the police. I doubt any of the officers really wanted to kill the baby. And being a part of that must be devastating.
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#5 Old 07-11-2005, 10:29 PM
 
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I'm sure if the officers could have avoided shooting the baby they would have...I blame the guy using her as a shield what a cowardly thing.
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#6 Old 07-11-2005, 10:38 PM
 
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I don't know, but police officers are trained for situations like these; they are trained to prevent any shots being fired through talking, negotiations.... It seems to me that the guy wouldn't have fired first if he wasn't provoked, but like Newstars I wasn't there and thus don't know the whole story. I'm sure we'll find out a little more about the circumstances upon investigation. That poor baby and especially the mother having to witness it.





btw, I'm not suggesting that they did it on purpose, only that it may have been possible to prevent the death of the baby. It's just too sad.
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#7 Old 07-11-2005, 10:40 PM
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Wow, how awful for the baby's mother. She lost her child and child's father at the same time. He may not have been much of a partner or father, since responsible people tend not to do things like use their children to protect them from speeding lead, but it is all likely a great loss to the woman.

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#8 Old 07-11-2005, 10:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tame View Post

Once he starts shooting, the police are in a position where they may have no choice but to respond.



Yeah... it's still sad, though. It sounds like the police did everything they could. Who knows... if they hadn't shot when they did, maybe even more people would have lost their lives.



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#9 Old 07-11-2005, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Satya View Post

I don't know, but police officers are trained for situations like these; they are trained to prevent any shots being fired through talking, negotiations.... It seems to me that the guy wouldn't have fired first if he wasn't provoked





Sheesh. Unfortunately, perps don't take the same training. You can negotiate all you want, but if the dickhead on the other side starts peeling caps, the officers must defend themselves and the others he may be putting at risk.

And that last statement you made is just mind boggling.
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#10 Old 07-11-2005, 10:54 PM
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I was hoping they were referring to the police officer when they said "the guy" but I'm probably wrong.

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#11 Old 07-12-2005, 12:36 AM
 
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Trained SWAT hostage negotatiators spent two and a half hours trying to get the guy to give up, but he shot at them several times, expending 40 rounds, and finally hitting one of the officers, at which time they took him down for their own safety. It's their strategy to slow things down to get the hostage-taker to calm down and to make it easier to rationalize. According to the family, he had been drinking and using drugs earlier in the day and had recently been extremely depressed, so it's no doubt that they guy wasn't easy to rationalize with.
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#12 Old 07-12-2005, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tame View Post

Sheesh. Unfortunately, perps don't take the same training. You can negotiate all you want, but if the dickhead on the other side starts peeling caps, the officers must defend themselves and the others he may be putting at risk.

Yeah, I understand that. They did say the father was drunk and drugged up. He obviously wasn't thinking straight, hence using his own baby as a shield.

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And that last statement you made is just mind boggling.

Yeah, well it didn't come out right. I didn't mean to say "provoked".
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#13 Old 07-12-2005, 10:20 AM
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I guess I'll have to be the skunk at the garden party and say, based on what has been presented so far, that the police should have waited longer and just waited the guy out. It's too bad a cop got shot, but from what I read it wasn't fatal. They killed a child in response. That does not seem right or fair to me.



They had a somewhat similar situation here in Nashville about a year ago, with a few differences. First, there was no hostage. Second, the depressed guy doing the shooting was himself a cop. Guess what happenned? The cops just waited the situation out and the shooter gave himself up.



It seems like cops are capable of restraint when they feel it is in their own interests.
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#14 Old 07-12-2005, 10:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Joe View Post

It seems like cops are capable of restraint when they feel it is in their own interests.



I do not know enough information on this particular case to make a judgement, however, I do tend to lean towards views similar to Joe's when reading about cases like this.
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#15 Old 07-12-2005, 11:25 AM
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They had a somewhat similar situation here in Nashville about a year ago, with a few differences. First, there was no hostage. Second, the depressed guy doing the shooting was himself a cop. Guess what happenned? The cops just waited the situation out and the shooter gave himself up.



It seems like cops are capable of restraint when they feel it is in their own interests.



I think your suggestion that a police officer would rather shoot an infant than a fellow officer is way off the mark.



There is a police officer out there who was trying to do his job and is probably going to spend a significant amount of the rest of his life in a therapists office and I don't think it is fair to suggest that he somehow didn't value the life of this infant.



These (hostage) situations cannot be handled perfectly every time. It is unfair to expect out police officers to live up to the standards of movie hero heroism.
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#16 Old 07-12-2005, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by remilard View Post

I think your suggestion that a police officer would rather shoot an infant than a fellow officer is way off the mark.



No, that was not my "suggestion," that is what you chose to (mis)read into my remarks. I tried to stick to the facts, not to people's subjective "feelings" or "rathers" or "druthers."



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Originally Posted by remilard View Post


There is a police officer out there who was trying to do his job and is probably going to spend a significant amount of the rest of his life in a therapists office and I don't think it is fair to suggest that he somehow didn't value the life of this infant.



I am looking at what was done. I don't pretend to be a mind-reader and know what the state-of-mind or subjective intentions or values of the police are or were. But, by the way, the police could have spared themselves all the "therapist's office" anguish had they waited the guy out and not shot the child.



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Originally Posted by remilard View Post


These (hostage) situations cannot be handled perfectly every time. It is unfair to expect out police officers to live up to the standards of movie hero heroism.



I don't think it is unfair to expect that the police in LA could have waited this guy out and not shot the child. The police in Nashville--who I'd bet are way more poorly trained and poorly paid than the police in LA-- were able to "wait out" their depressed fellow officer. Where there is a will, there's a way. Where there's no will, there's no way.
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#17 Old 07-12-2005, 11:40 AM
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No, no, no, Remi. Cops are horrible, vile people looking to cap infants whenever the opportunity presents itself. The fact that x and Joe don't know exactly what danger this man was placing others in (perhaps by firing at the police 3 different times) is not relevant. And knowing that he was on drugs is not an issue either, as we all know that those that dope up, shoot at the cops, and hold their own child as a human shield are rational beings just wanting to be loved and respected. Is that so wrong?
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#18 Old 07-12-2005, 12:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post




I don't think it is unfair to expect that the police in LA could have waited this guy out and not shot the child.



They can't "wait this guy out" when he's shooting at them. From the article: "When they at one point tried to help a neighbour escape the area, he fired at them and they fired back, McDonnell said."



It's a terrible thing that anybody, adult or infant, was shot, but the cops have to make split-second decisions, and protect the public. They did they best they could.



If they hadn't shot Lemos, and he had shot and killed a bystander, people would have been arguing that the police hadn't done enough.
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#19 Old 07-12-2005, 12:18 PM
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I'm a little confused about the three rounds of gunfire the article says were exchanged. Were these staggered out over the two-and-a-half hours of standoff, or was all of the shooting done toward the end? Obviously the last of the three gunfire exchanges was the climactic event.



If the man had started shooting much earlier, even before he went into the apartment building, could the police have shot him then? The article appears to indicate he only used the girl as a shield in the last of the three. Was he as much of an imminent danger in the previous two gunfire rounds? If so, why was he not killed until the third one?

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#20 Old 07-12-2005, 12:42 PM
 
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I found an update. Apparently there is now a question as to whether the fatal bullet was fired by police or the father.



Quote:
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Police expect autopsy results to determine whether a bullet that killed a 19-month girl was fired by police or her father, who authorities say used the toddler as a shield in a gunbattle that lasted nearly three hours.



Both the girl, Susie Lopez, and her father, Jose Raul Pena, were killed as Pena dueled with police on Sunday. One officer was wounded.



See link for full article: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/07/12/la.....ap/index.html
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#21 Old 07-12-2005, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

I think your suggestion that a police officer would rather shoot an infant than a fellow officer is way off the mark.



There is a police officer out there who was trying to do his job and is probably going to spend a significant amount of the rest of his life in a therapists office and I don't think it is fair to suggest that he somehow didn't value the life of this infant.



These (hostage) situations cannot be handled perfectly every time. It is unfair to expect out police officers to live up to the standards of movie hero heroism.





It's such a sad situation. But this is very well said.
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#22 Old 07-12-2005, 12:50 PM
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I don't think it is unfair to expect that the police in LA could have waited this guy out and not shot the child. The police in Nashville--who I'd bet are way more poorly trained and poorly paid than the police in LA-- were able to "wait out" their depressed fellow officer. Where there is a will, there's a way. Where there's no will, there's no way.



Can I ask where you studied hostage negotiation tactics? Frankly, I have belly button lint that is worth more than unqualified analysis of this situation.
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#23 Old 07-12-2005, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

I'm a little confused about the three rounds of gunfire the article says were exchanged. Were these staggered out over the two-and-a-half hours of standoff, or was all of the shooting done toward the end? Obviously the last of the three gunfire exchanges was the climactic event.



If the man had started shooting much earlier, even before he went into the apartment building, could the police have shot him then? The article appears to indicate he only used the girl as a shield in the last of the three. Was he as much of an imminent danger in the previous two gunfire rounds? If so, why was he not killed until the third one?





Let's see. There was an "exchange" of gunfire earlier, which means both the perp and the police traded shots. If he wasn't killed earlier, that would imply it was because he wasn't hit, or at least wasn't hit with a killing shot. Seems pretty self explanatory.
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#24 Old 07-12-2005, 03:59 PM
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Tragic, but I doubt the police had any choice - any one who uses a child, especially their own, as a shield cannot be trusted, in my view, to respond according to any rules or scenarios that the police train for. Ultimately, regardless of who fired the fatal bullet, the father is to blame.
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#25 Old 07-12-2005, 04:15 PM
 
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If your domb enough to shoot at a cop well i dont have much sympathy for you...



That being said it is extremely sad that the child was killed as well. It sounds like the police did everything right in this case. They tryed to talk the man down and they gave the negotiators time. However, if someone starts shooting at the police and hits them they need to act immediatly.
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#26 Old 07-12-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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That's really sad.



I don't jump to defend cops every chance I get, and I've met quite a few nasty, petty, cruel ones, but even those ones would never have killed a child with intent or through carelessness. This just seems like one of those terrible situations that the police had very little control over.
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#27 Old 07-12-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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If they hadn't shot Lemos, and he had shot and killed a bystander, people would have been arguing that the police hadn't done enough.



Exactly... it was a lose-lose situation.



The only person I can see at fault for this is Lemos, since he started it all to begin with.
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#28 Old 07-12-2005, 04:52 PM
 
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Exactly... it was a lose-lose situation.



The only person I can see at fault for this is Lemos, since he started it all to begin with.

You can't blame the police for shooting back after one of their own had been hit.
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#29 Old 07-12-2005, 06:01 PM
 
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Has anyone considered that the child may have been in danger from her father?



Its not unknown for parents to kill their own children in murder-suicides. I would hazard a guess that if a parent was drunk, on drugs, shooting at police, and using their own child as a human shield that the parent is more likely to kill their child then most parents.



Such thinking may have also been a factor in deciding to shoot. (Who knows, perhaps the man was threating to kill his child during the standoff. The report doesn't say.)
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#30 Old 07-12-2005, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by remilard View Post

Can I ask where you studied hostage negotiation tactics?



No, you can't. The topic was started to get people's opinions. Too bad you don't like mine.



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Frankly, I have belly button lint that is worth more than unqualified analysis of this situation.



The First Amendment "qualifies" me to offer an opinion of the situation.



I am more concerned about the dead child than about your belly button lint or your precious, fragile little ego.
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