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Officer Kills Alleged Carjacker

January 31, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

An off-duty Baldwin Park police officer shot and killed one of two men who were allegedly trying to carjack his vehicle late Tuesday at a Pico Rivera service station. The second man was wounded.

David Montanez, 36, of Pico Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene, said coroner's spokesman Scott Carrier. Neither the wounded man nor the 26-year-old officer, who was not in uniform at the time, was identified.

Dieter C. Dammeier, an Upland attorney who represents the Baldwin Park Police Officers Assn., said the officer was pumping gas into his Ford truck at a Mobil station at Beverly and Rosemead boulevards about 10:25 p.m. Tuesday when he was accosted by two men.

"He was willing to give up his truck and leave," Dammeier said. "He grabbed a gun out of his truck and ran across the street. But they chased him, knocked him down and kicked him in the head. That's when he decided he'd better defend himself, and he opened fire."

Dammeier said it was unclear whether the officer's assailants were themselves armed, but one of them tried to grab the officer's gun. Dammeier said the officer had identified himself to them as a policeman.

"Obviously, it's a tragedy that the officer had to take this action, but he had no choice," Dammeier said. "The carjackers forced his hand."

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, who were called to the scene after the shooting, were investigating the matter, sheriff's Sgt. Joe Efflandt said. He said the assailants were shot several times in their upper bodies.

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