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Police Say Shooting of Armed Man Justified

December 13, 1990|PHIL SNEIDERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three Glendale police officers acted within department guidelines when they shot and critically wounded an 85-year-old man who threatened them with a flare gun, an internal investigation has concluded.

The probe focused on the conduct of Sgt. Don Meredith and Officers Stephen Robertson and Robert Breckenridge, who shot Albert Levinson Rackin during a disturbance at the man's south Glendale house on Oct. 13.

Such reviews are conducted after all officer-involved shootings, Glendale police said.

"After an extensive investigation, it was determined that the shooting was justified," department spokesman Mario Yagoda said Tuesday.

He said the three officers have remained on active duty, and no disciplinary action will be taken.

According to police reports, Rackin's neighbors had called paramedics because he appeared to be suffering from diabetes-related problems. The paramedics summoned police when Rackin threatened them with the flare gun.

Rackin refused to drop the weapon, and the three officers fired when they believed a fellow officer was in danger, police said. Rackin discharged the flare gun, but the round went through a window and landed in a neighbor's yard, causing no injuries, police said.

For several days after the shooting, Rackin remained in critical condition at Glendale Memorial Hospital with wounds to the torso.

Yagoda said investigators were unable to determine how many times Rackin was shot because the hospital would not release his confidential medical records.

Lt. Don Mac Neil, who supervised the internal investigation, said Rackin was still hospitalized in stable condition three weeks ago and appeared to be recovering from his wounds.

Mac Neil said that because of Rackin's age, medical problems and other factors, the department does not intend to pursue criminal charges.

A copy of Glendale's report has been forwarded to the Los Angeles district attorney's office for review, but that office has not conducted an independent probe, MacNeil said.

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