I Just Attended My First LAPD Officer-Involved Shooting...

Yesterday, my mother-in-law went to good ole trusty UCLA Harbor Hospital.  She felt pains in her chest, and that she couldn't breathe. 

She was supposed to have surgery about a week ago but backed out last minute.  Now, since she hasn't had the surgery, she's been anxious about not having it.  To the emergency room, she went.

My wife happens to be the most available offspring.  The moment she stepped in, she took on translation duties for incoming nurses and doctors, explaining everything from commands to the implications of surgery.

We waited for hours.  There was talk about fears of surgery, reminiscing about our sons growth.  Things were OK.  After a restroom break, I found my father-in-law at the room.

What I was able to get was just pretty much audio and whatever my father-in-law told me, as he moved towards the action and witnessed it first hand.

My Account

A few resident cardiologists happened to be surveying her condition.  She was going to be moved to the cardiology section, when all of a sudden, I heard a really loud argument.

That couldn't be good.

There was screaming;  people scrambled every which way.  There were what sounded like shots (my father-in-law said they were tasers) and someone screaming.  It was unintelligible to me.  I was just hoping the action would not come our way.

My father-in-law and the two cardiologists walked towards the action, which made me want to see the action.  My wife yelled get away from the door.

Fearing the worst but also kind of curious, I compromised by staying by the door and kind of ducking down.  So all I could do was hear.

And then BOOM.  Even more screaming and scrambling! After recent events, I didn't know what the hell was going down.

All this time, my mother-in-law, a heart patient, was panicking and crying.  She was wondering why this was happening.  Her blood pressure rose to 150, which was a situation in itself.

My Father-in-Law's Account

My father-in-law said that a young, skinny, Hispanic-whitish tall man was tasered.  Twice to apparently no effect.

He then attempted to grab the TASER.

That's when the cops shot him.  How this suspect was positioned, I'm not 100% sure, but it sounded like the cops had him down, but that he was not complying.  Father-in-law said that they shot him in the back near the chest-area, and that was that.

In his conversation with me, he kept wondering why that guy would not listen to the officer's commands. 

Media Accounts




The Aftermath

The Hospital was under code triage.  I heard the nurses at the front desk call other law enforcement agencies informing them of the situation.

After the melee, which lasted about 30 seconds to a minute (VERY FAST), the resident cardiologists returned to our room and calmly took us into our room.  They continued surveying and coached her breathing to lower her blood pressure back to a more manageable level.

After they left, we were stuck in our room for about an hour or two.  It seems that we didn't talk much about the situation because we'd all seen how anxious it had made mother-in-law.  But I could tell that it was something my father-in-law was aching to talk about.

The code triage alert was canceled about 30 minutes or hour after the shooting.

Sometime afterward my father-in-law announced, "hey why don't we get hot chocolate and coffee?"  She still had coffee from my trip to In-N-Out.

We made our way to the cafeteria.  On the way there, immediately outside the door about 20 feet away was yellow tape blocking off a hallway, and cops in LAPD black milling about.  It was a crime scene, but there was an air of casualty about it as we took a look and walked towards the exit for the cafeteria.

A few of the workers at the cafeteria knew we were on alert but not the reason why.  Of course my father-in-law had all the information and he would share what he saw. 

We got our hot chocolates and coffee and attempted to get back into the emergency room.  We still had our nametags and assumed that we could get back in but they were not allowing any visitors to the Emergency Room.  We tried explaining that we were just there!  He had seen everything!  But to no effect. 

We waited for about 3-4 hours checking in with the receptionists often.  We won some sympathy, but that still did not get us in. 

My Father-in-Law kept wondering aloud to me why they needed so much space for the investigation.  To him, the case was over when they shot him.  The only place they would transfer him was the freezer.

My Interpretation of Events

Everything happened really quickly in rapid succession.

Part of the scariness of the situation is that I didn't know or see where anything came from.  I didn't know if it was multiple shooters, what other weapons were there.

I just thought and hoped it wasn't a San Bernardino situation.

Was the cop right to pull the trigger?

It's hard to make any credible comment without seeing the situation.

After hearing my father-in-law's account and reading the news reporting, I'm still kind of unsure, but my opinion will ultimately hinge on whether or not the guy was restrained.

IF they had him "restrained" after swinging the metal chair, but not complying, I'd say probably not because the cops probably are not fearing for their lives.  It seems like they shot him just because that was just the more efficient tool given a long day with him.

IF he was "unrestrained" this whole time and possibly out there to cause havoc on civilians, patients in an ER room, guests, and doctors, then I'd probably lean towards saying that some kind of use of force was definitely justified, but a deadly use of force questionable.

The Problem With "If You See Something, Say Something": The Inevitable Selective Application of It After The San Bernardino Shooting

First off, on the shootings in general. As the father to a 9-month old, I can't understand how anything could drive you to commit an action that would take you away from an offspring.  I don't care to judge, but all I'm saying is these actions are infathomable and overwhelmingly tragic.  But yeah.  Damn.  Fuck.

After the mass shooting in San Bernardino, law enforcement has aggressively encouraged the public with a sign I've seen at Disney Studios in Burbank "if you see something, say something."  I generally don't have a problem with that as a general idea applied to any situation. Its a constant reminder, and upon seeing it, people will always be on the look out in general.  

But the mass call by law enforcement in the context of just this shooting bugs me a little bit.

Only in this shooting, out of the 350 or so this year, have I seen/heard law enforcement, people more aggressively say, "if you see something, say something."  The more 'radicalized' conservative version of people commenting on this situation is people saying "I don't care if I offend Muslims, let's profile the crap out of them!"  Meanwhile, we'll still have about 348 of those other mass shootings. 

The fact that law enforcement is more vocal to "see something, say something" particularly around this shooting involving Muslims is that now your right-wing radical as well as your average moderate will wonder a lot more about the Arabic, Middle-Eastern-ish garb-wearing people for nothing other than the way they look and dress.  I say "Middle-Eastern-ish" because just as after 9/11 we saw idiots harrass Sikhs for the headscarf, they will probably do the same. 

The fact that the San Bernardino shooter has been constantly described as "quiet", that co-workers couldn't remember any conflicts, and that even his own family didn't suspect anything, gives those who want to "see something, say something" even more reason to scrutinize anything they associate to be "Muslim" to the exclusion of any other person who also may be doing something suspicious.