Police shot and killed a burglary suspect this week after the man struggled to take a shotgun from an officer, a Hawthorne police sergeant said.
Sgt. Peter Frankel gave the following account of the incident, which took place at 13332 Prairie Ave. about 5 a.m. Monday:
Three officers, responding to a burglary call, found a struggle outside the house between Emilio Rizo, its occupant, and another man.
The man grabbed for the pistol of Officer David Mains, who was trying to handcuff him, and began struggling with Mains. Officer Tim Lynch approached, pointing a shotgun.
Noticing Lynch, the suspect said, "I want the shotgun. Give me the shotgun," let go of Mains and jumped Lynch. Mains fired two shots, one grazing the suspect, who continued to struggle with Lynch.
The man grabbed the shotgun and pulled it toward him. It went off, hitting him in the left side. The man continued to fight.
A third officer, John Austin, fired once with a pistol, striking the man, who rolled over. The man, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead by a crime-scene investigator.
The department is conducting an investigation of the shooting. Frankel said it appeared to comply with departmental guidelines. All three officers have more than five years of service with the department. Frankel, who has been with the department for 18 years, said he was not aware that any of them had been involved in a prior shooting.