Police involved shooting off campus

Indigo Halverson

Wednesday morning at approximately 6 a.m., Whittier Police (WPD), responding to a 911 call shot a man wielding a machete at the cross-section of Penn Street. and Painter.

Andrew November lives on Penn Street near where the incident took place. He was home at the time of the encounter and recalls, “I heard screaming and what sounded like ‘Drop your weapon, drop your weapon,’ and then, I heard six or seven gunshots.” November said his neighbor told him that he witnessed the individual “pacing across the street at another building and pointing a machete at cars as they drove past.” The neighbor called the Whittier Police Department.

After rushing outside, November saw police cars lining the streets and a man laying on the ground in a pool of blood. He said the Whittier Police Department, “tried to put a chest tube in him. They were pumping his heart. They were trying to give him air.” The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the officer-involved shooting, confirmed the man was pronounced dead at a Whittier-area hospital.

“It wasn’t anybody I had ever seen in the area before,” said November. “It seems like a very isolated incident because we just don’t have things like that happen here. He looked like anybody you’d see on the street who was just walking around.”

According to November, the man, reportedly in his 30’s, was about 5’10 and weighed between 220 to 250 lbs.  November said the man had a shaved head and was wearing a “military-style” camoflauge backpack.

“My neighbor was down there when I went outside, and most of the other neighbors were, too,” November said. “There’s about 14 units in our building and I think everyone except for one unit was coming out and we were all just shocked. I mean, absolutely shocked. Our neighborhood is very quiet. Whittier is a very peaceful town and our street is mostly families. We don’t see stuff like this.”

According to Whittier Police Department Lieutenant Kent Miller, WPD arrived to the area and spoke to the individual for a few minutes, and “subsequently,” a shooting followed. Two WPD officers were involved. The suspect dropped to the ground and was immediately given CPR and transported to a hospital. Miller assures community members that there is no longer any outstanding suspects at this time. The full press release can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vp2YAN_dFI.

Following its officer-involved shooting protocol, the Whittier Police Department handed the case to the LA County Sheriff’s Department to investigate. Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Steve Jauch said that the victim threw a stick at one of the responding officers and lunged at another with his machete, prompting the officers to shoot.

The Sheriff’s department is talking to eyewitnesses as there were no body cams or dash cams available to help in the investigation. The WPD says it is also working with the LA homicide division during this investigation. As late 5 p.m. at least half a dozen police vehicles, and two TV news crews were still at the cordoned-off scene, while a Sheriff’s helicopter buzzed overhead. The street was closed for most of the day.

According to Jauch, investigators are going to take their time and be “slow and thorough.”