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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Officer Shoots Man Who Flashed Pellet Gun

October 04, 2000

PACOIMA — A Los Angeles police officer shot and wounded a man who was waving a pellet gun and scaring bystanders Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The victim, whom police could not identify late Tuesday, was shot twice in the upper body after he allegedly pointed the gun at one of the officers, said Lt. Horace Frank of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Frank said the officer was not aware it was a pellet gun.

The incident occurred at 1:40 p.m. in the 10900 block of Lehigh Street. The man was taken to a hospital, but Frank said his injuries were not life threatening.

Police were called to the neighborhood by residents who saw the man parading around the street and showing the gun. Two officers approached the man from behind and ordered him to stop, Frank said. The gunman complied and turned around, putting his hands above his head.

The officers got out of their car as the man walked toward their vehicle. Officer Timothy Smith saw what appeared to be a gun in the suspect's waistband and ran behind a nearby tree, fearing for his safety, police said.

The man then turned to Smith and allegedly pulled out his weapon. The officer fired at least two shots, Frank added.

"He was pretty close to the officer," Frank said. "He was at a distance where the officer feared for his life."

Smith has been with the department for 19 years.

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