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Los Angeles

Probe Continues in Shooting Death of Man by CHP Officer

Crime: Authorities say the policeman fired in self-defense. Victim is still unidentified.

June 22, 2002

Los Angeles police and the California Highway Patrol continued their investigation Friday into the shooting death of a man who attacked a CHP officer at a vehicle-registration office in Tarzana.

The 30-year-old man, whose name was not released pending notification of his family, was trying to register a stolen motorcycle on Thursday at the California Alternative Registration Service office, which is linked to the Department of Motor Vehicles, said CHP Officer Wendy Moore.

After a computer identified the motorcycle as stolen, Officer Daniel Margaris, a three-year veteran who works out of the CHP's West Valley office in Woodland Hills, was dispatched to the scene in the 19300 block of Ventura Boulevard to investigate.

When Margaris approached the man about 6 p.m., the officer was hit in the head with a gun, starting a struggle, Moore said.

"Fearing for his life, Margaris drew his weapon and fired at the suspect," Moore said. The man died at the scene, she said.

Darrell Pitts, 22, manager of the XS Sports store next door, said he and co-worker Sean Hensley, 19, heard the scuffle and gunshots.

"We heard a male voice shouting, 'Put the gun down! Put the gun down!' Then we heard wrestling and then one shot," Pitts said. "Then later, like two minutes later, we heard five or six shots and we all hit the floor."

Three registration office workers took cover in Pitts' store after the first gunshot. No employees were hurt, officials said.

Margaris, who sustained a laceration on his forehead, a fractured middle finger and several bruises, was transported to Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center for treatment, Moore said.

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