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Los Angeles Police Kill Toddler
July 14, 2005 permalink
Police in Los Angeles killed a nineteen-month-old girl Suzie Peña in a standoff with the girl's father. Autopsy results mentioned in later news reports show that it was a police bullet that killed the girl. This kind of story is the inevitable result of high levels of police intervention in family life.
Toddler who was used as shield by dad is killed in shootout
LOS ANGELES -- A toddler girl was shot and killed when her intoxicated father used her as a shield during a fiery gun battle with police after a standoff that lasted three hours, authorities said.
Police Chief William Bratton said Monday his officers were well within department policy when they shot car wash owner Jose Raul Pena on Sunday. Pena also was killed; an officer shot in the shoulder was expected to recover.
"You aren't going to stand there with somebody shooting at you," Bratton said. "The person responsible for any loss of life ... was the individual who held his child out as a shield and continued to shoot."
The 19-month-old 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."
Mayor: Cops 'were doing their jobs'
Autopsies will determine whether the bullet that killed the toddler was fired by police or her father. Police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said 11 officers fired during the standoff, but it was not known how many shots they took.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the officers were only trying to protect themselves and the public.
"My heart is out to a grieving mother who's lost her child. My heart is also out to those officers who put their lives on the line," Villaraigosa said. "Not a one of them went into that situation with the intent to hurt anyone. They were doing their jobs."
The standoff started when officers were called to an intersection where Pena was behaving erratically and aggressively. He fired at the officers, and police called in a SWAT team and tried to talk to the man.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Addendum: From the Los Angeles Times:
Addendum: You will be pleased to learn that the cops did nothing wrong in killing Suzie:
Officers cleared in shooting of toddler used as human shield
LOS ANGELES -- An investigation has cleared the Los Angeles police officers involved in the accidental shooting of a toddler being used as a human shield.
The 19-month-old girl was killed during a shootout last year between police and her father. It came at the end of a long standoff.
LA's district attorney looked into the case and is deciding not to bring charges against the eleven officers involved. Prosecutors believe the SWAT team members were trying to defend themselves and others when they mistakenly killed the girl.
Officials have said traces of cocaine were found in the child, and that the father had also used illegal drugs.
The girl's mother is taking steps to sue the city.