PANORAMA CITY — Police shot and wounded an agitated, knife-wielding man in a hospital waiting area early Monday after pepper spray, stun guns and lead-filled bean bags failed to subdue him, authorities said.
Peter Correa, 26, of San Fernando, was in guarded condition Monday afternoon after undergoing surgery for gunshot wounds at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center, where the incident took place. Police arrested Correa on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer--a hospital security guard.
At one point, police said, onlookers in the emergency room area picked up chairs to protect themselves from the suspect.
"Nothing they were doing appeared to have an impact on this guy," said Lt. Horace Frank, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.
There were no other injuries in the incident, which began about 2 a.m. when paramedics took Correa to the hospital's emergency room for undisclosed reasons. After about two hours there, he refused treatment and began to leave, activating a fire alarm, authorities said.
When the hospital's security guards responded, Correa became "violent and bellicose," Frank said, threatening guards, doctors and nurses with a knife.
Police arrived at 4:45 a.m. and tried for 15 minutes to talk Correa into surrendering the knife, Frank said. "He [was not] complying. In fact, he [was] getting increasingly agitated," Frank said.
An officer fired a stun gun at Correa, attempting to subdue him with its electrical charge of 50,000 volts. Correa yanked the darts from his jacket, Frank said.
Another officer fired bags of lead pellets at the 5-foot-10, 260-pound man, also with little effect. In fact, Frank said, Correa did a "karate fly kick" toward the officer.
As the suspect moved from the emergency room's admitting area into a waiting area, officers fired more electrically charged darts at him, as well as up to 16 more shots from the beanbag gun.
Still holding the knife, Correa advanced toward several officers, Frank said. Officer Roy Guthrie of the LAPD's North Hollywood Division fired his 9-millimeter pistol, hitting Correa at least once in the torso.
The wounded Correa remained aggressive and ran past the officers, Frank said. As he did, officers were able to slam a door on his arm to pry free the knife and wrestle him to the floor. He was immediately moved to an operating room for surgery on his wounds.
Police released little information about Correa and offered no explanation for his behavior.
"Something must have ticked him off," Frank said. The LAPD would not comment on any previous problems Correa may have had with police.
At some point during or soon after the incident, Correa's mother arrived at the hospital at his request, police said.
Hours after the incident, Kaiser patients coming for appointments at the medical center at Roscoe Boulevard and Woodman Avenue were met by at least 25 police cars.
Detectives were still interviewing more than 40 witnesses, including the 38 officers from the four LAPD divisions who responded, the hospital's overnight staff and its patients. The emergency room was open to patients but sealed off by crime tape.
Linda Quon, director of public affairs for the hospital, said the staff is trained for difficult, threatening situations. "They handled it very well," she said.