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VAN NUYS : Officer Describes Being Shot by Suspect

July 23, 1993|THOM MROZEK

A Los Angeles police officer responding to an armed robbery call was shot in the leg by a suspect, but he was able to return fire and then bark orders to make it appear there was an army waiting outside for the robbers, the officer testified Thursday.

Officer Dennis Hinman said that Howard Holt, a 29-year-old Pacoima man on trial in a series of robberies and one murder, was using a robbery victim as a shield when he fired the hollow-point bullet that struck the officer.

"(My radio) had been blown apart," Hinman testified in Van Nuys Superior Court. "Apparently the round went through my holster, into my hip, through my buttocks and exited into my back pocket where my radio was."

The officer testified against Holt and Claude E. Davis, 29, also of Pacoima, who are accused of staging a series of late-night robberies at restaurants and bars that culminated with Hinman's shooting at the Grandview Chinese Restaurant in Northridge on Jan. 15, 1992.

Holt and Davis are also charged in the Nov. 27, 1991, slaying of a musician who was working at the Grecian Village restaurant in Studio City.

Davis faces 51 felony counts. The jury will be asked to decide 32 counts against Holt because he previously pleaded guilty to 19 charge--including four counts of robbery in the Grandview incident.

Hinman testified that he and his partner responded to a silent alarm at the restaurant. As Hinman made his way across the parking lot behind the business, he said the door opened and Holt was standing directly behind a customer, Donald H. Horst.

Hinman said the suspect's "right hand came up, I saw a large-caliber handgun--shiny silver--and I saw a flash."

"It spun me around counterclockwise," Hinman testified.

Holt surrendered to police soon after Hinman was shot, but Davis hid inside the restaurant and was bitten by a police dog who found him, Deputy Dist. Atty. Peter S. Berman said.

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